Darlington County authorities are treating a 4-year-old Great Dane that was found wandering the streets Monday with its mouth and head bound by duct tape.
Sheriff’s deputies have asked for the public’s help locating the dog’s owner and tracking down a suspect.
The animal cruelty case mirrors the story of another dog, Caitlyn, that drew worldwide attention after she was found last year in North Charleston with her muzzle painfully taped shut. Caitlyn has since recovered and is living with foster parents.
An anonymous tipster alerted sheriff’s deputies to the latest case after seeing the black Great Dane, dubbed Aurora by the county’s Humane Society, walking along Darlington’s Rogers Road.
Sheriff’s Capt. Chad Mcinville responded to the scene and found the dog. She was scared, Mcinville said, and could not open her mouth due to the tape.
Mcinville doesn’t know how long the dog’s mouth had been taped, but he said he didn’t believe it was for very long.
“We do have tips coming in, but at this time we have no possible suspect and we don’t know the owner,” he said.
At 90 pounds, Aurora is slightly underweight for her age and breed, said Jackie Kirven, a board member with the Darlington County Humane Society. She has intestinal parasites and heartworms, a potentially fatal condition which will take months to treat, Kirven said.
“This is just senseless cruelty. The dog’s mouth was taped so tightly that she could not open it,” Kirven said. “If she became hot and needed to pant she could not do so.”
Kirven used words like majestic, friendly, calm and quiet to describe Aurora’s demeanor.
“She was very timid when the officers went to the field where she had been seen. It took her a while to come to them, but once they got the tape off she was very friendly,” Kirven said.
The Humane Society is dependent on donations and community support to treat Aurora and the shelter’s other animals — some of which had been shot, hit by cars, had untreated wounds, diseases and were starving.
It’s fortunate that Aurora was found when she was, Kirven said. The person responsible was not identified Tuesday.
The man accused of taping Caitlyn’s muzzle shut — William Leonard Dodson, 42, of Quitman Street in North Charleston — remains jailed at Cannon Detention Center awaiting court proceedings on charges, including felony animal cruelty, possession of cocaine and illegal possession of a firearm.
Anyone with information about Aurora’s case can contact the Darlington County Sheriff’s Office at 843-398-4501 or 843-398-4920.
To offer donations or apply to adopt the dog, go to the Darlington County Humane Society online.
Reach Christina Elmore at 843-937-5908.