Call for Jail Time, Ban on Owning Animals for Man Who Allegedly Taped Dog’s Mouth Shut

PETA Appeals to Solicitor in Wake of Dog's Rescue From Near-Fatal Abuse

For Immediate Release:
June 4, 2015

Contact:
David Perle 202-483-7382

North Charleston, S.C. – After news hit that North Charleston resident William Leonard Dodson is facing charges for allegedly binding the muzzle of his dog, Caitlyn, with electrical tape so tightly that she sustained tissue damage, PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way”—is pushing for vigorous prosecution. PETA sent a letter today to Solicitor Scarlett A. Wilson urging jail time and psychiatric intervention for Dodson—as well as a lifelong ban on owning animals—should he be convicted of the crime. Dodson, who reportedly bought Caitlyn on Memorial Day for $20, may have caused her to endure this torturous abuse for days. He reportedly laughed when discussing the crime with Caitlyn’s former owner, who turned him in to the police. Another dog in Dodson’s home has been taken into protective custody.

“The photographs of this sweet dog with her muzzle painfully squeezed shut are heartbreaking, and anyone capable of inflicting this much suffering on another living being is dangerous,” says PETA Senior Director Martin Mersereau. “For the protection of everyone in the community, PETA is calling for the maximum penalty in this sad case—including a lifelong ban on harboring any animals.”

PETA’s letter to Solicitor Scarlett A. Wilson follows.

June 4, 2015

The Honorable Scarlett A. Wilson, Solicitor
Office of the Solicitor
Ninth Judicial Circuit
101 Meeting St.
Charleston, SC 29401

Dear Ms. Wilson:

PETA is an international animal-protection organization with more than 3 million members and supporters globally and thousands residing in South Carolina. This letter concerns a disturbing case that your office is handling involving North Charleston resident William Leonard Dodson of Quitman Street, who allegedly purchased a Labrador mix named Caitlyn in late May for $20 and tightly bound her muzzle with electrical tape when he became tired of her barking. Reports indicate that Caitlyn was eventually found after breaking free of her chain, her grotesquely swollen face having sustained tissue damage requiring surgery. We understand that Dodson laughed as he confessed his actions to the dog’s former owner.

As you likely know, mental-health professionals and top law-enforcement officials consider animal abuse to be a red flag. The American Psychiatric Association identifies cruelty to animals as one of the diagnostic criteria for conduct disorders, and the FBI uses reports of animal abuse in analyzing the threat potential of suspected and known criminals. The link between animal abuse and interpersonal violence is undeniable, and the safety of the community may depend on a vigorous prosecution of this case. Please see the attached document for more information.

Respectfully, we request that, if there is a conviction, sentencing include incarceration and psychiatric intervention at the defendant’s expense. Given the heinous nature of this case and because there is a high rate of recidivism among animal abusers, we ask also that sentencing include a prohibition on owning and contact with animals (a common provision in such cases) for as long as possible.

Thank you for your time and consideration and for the difficult work that you do.

Sincerely,

Kristin Simon
Cruelty Casework Associate Manager
Cruelty Investigations Department

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“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind