Surgery on the dog who was severely injured after her muzzle was taped shut took a little longer than expected, but the surgeon is optimistic about her recovery, according to the Charleston Animal Society.

“She lost minimal function of her tongue, which is better than we expected,” spokeswoman Kay Hyman said of Caitlyn the dog, adding that the surgeon said laser therapy was a big help.

The Animal Society sent out a tweet about 10:45 a.m. that the surgery had started. Around 3:30 p.m., it tweeted Caitlyn was doing well.

An earlier social media post had asked for prayers and positive thoughts for Dr. Henri Bianucci, the surgeon at Veterinary Specialty Care in Mount Pleasant who was to perform the delicate operation. Hyman said Caitlyn had her lip and cheek reconstructed.

She added that Caitlyn would be at Veterinary Specialty Care for recovery for about a week and then she will move into a foster home. Adoption will be later, and while there has been a lot of interest, Hyman said everyone is currently focusing on getting the dog back to good health.

Caitlyn was found in a North Charleston neighborhood on May 27 with her mouth bound so tightly with black electrical tape that her lips were smashed and her tongue had turned black.

William Leonard Dodson, 41, of Quitman Street in North Charleston was arrested Monday on a felony charge of animal cruelty and remains in the Charleston County jail on $50,000 bail. The maximum penalty is five years in prison and a $5,000 fine.

At the time of his arrest Monday, Dodson was on probation for a weapons conviction and out of jail on bail on a more recent drug and gun charge.

A petition for stronger penalties for animal cruelty on the website has gathered nearly 9,000 signatures in two days.

Caitlyn’s treatment prior to the surgery has included time in a hyperbaric oxygen chamber, cold laser therapy, antibiotics and intravenous fluids.

The society has been raising money for Caitlyn and other injured animals through Toby’s Fund at Donors from around the world have been responding.

Reach Dave Munday at 937-5553. Reach Melissa Boughton at 937-5594 or at