Warning: the following story contains graphic images.
Anyone who works with abused animals, like Charleston Animal Society Director of Anti-Cruelty Aldwin Roman, has seen some pretty sickening displays in their time. Yet this case shocked even him. Roman called it "the most malicious case of animal abuse" he'd seen in his entire career.
The case is that of Caitlyn, a 15-month-old chocolate staffie mix found in North Charleston, South Carolina. Caitlyn was found with electrical tape wrapped so tightly around her muzzle that her tongue was caught between her teeth. The tape had also caused multiple wounds on her flesh.
This is Caitlyn right after the tape was removed. Her tongue, seen protruding from her mouth, may have to be partially amputated.
Caitlyn was a well-known, friendly stray in the area. However, some heartless individual apparently saw her as a target, and taped her muzzle shut in a show of abject cruelty.
She was found on a doorstep on May 27 with the tape around her muzzle, and she may have suffered for up to 48 hours in that condition. This means that she would have been in extreme pain, and unable to eat or drink.
Caitlyn gets examined by one of the Animal Society's team members.
The tape was removed, but caused severe swelling and may leave lasting damage. Her tongue, caught between her teeth, lost blood and may have to be partially removed if the tissue dies. Caitlyn may also have permanent facial disfiguration, and any dead tissue can lead to serious complications.
"To leave this dog in pain, unable to eat or drink and to now leave her in the position where her life is at stake because she may lose her tongue, is heartbreaking," Roman says.
Aldiwn Roman, Director of Anti-Cruelty at the Animal Society, visits with Caitlyn.
Her face is very swollen, but she's doing okay!
The creep who did this to Caitlyn is currently at large, but the Animal Society is offering up to $1,000 in reward for any information that leads to their capture. If caught, the perpetrator faces a $5,000 fine and up to five years in prison.
Luckily, Caitlyn is recovering. She has a long road ahead of her, but she's doing very well for the extremity of her condition.
She's not out of the woods yet, but with diligent care, everyone is hoping for her recovery.
If you'd like to help Caitlyn, as well as other dogs who need medical care, you can make donations to the Animal Society on their Facebook page. So far, donations have poured in from all over the world, which has helped Caitlyn immensely.