Reward to find person who taped dog’s mouth shut grows to $6,000

Caitlyn, the stray dog in North Charleston found with her muzzle taped shut, recovers at the Charleston Animal Society.

The reward to find the person who taped a dog’s mouth shut and severely injured her tongue has grown to $6,000.

The Humane Society of the United States announced a $5,000 reward Friday. That’s in addition to the $1,000 reward the Charleston Animal Society is offering for an arrest and conviction.

A 15-month-old chocolate Staffordshire called Caityln was found Wednesday in the Chicora neighborhood in North Charleston. Black electrical tape was wound tightly around her snout, trapping her tongue between her teeth for perhaps several days.

Her plight drew sympathy and outrage around the world.

“Caitlyn is a friendly dog who may have suffered for days and is now fighting for her life,” Kimberly Kelly, the Humane Society’s state director, said in the announcement Friday. “Anyone capable of such a heartless act of cruelty should be held accountable, and we hope this reward will encourage anyone with information to come forward.”

Shelter staff said Caitlyn was doing better Friday and they were optimistic that at least some of her tongue could be saved.

“She is eating small portions of wet food and carrying around her bowl, which is a good sign of her mental health,” veterinarian Lucy Fuller said in an email. “She is undergoing Hyperbaric treatments every twelve hours and is receiving IV fluids and antibiotics. Caitlyn may undergo surgery to remove necrotic tongue and lip tissue early next week.”

CAS Chief Executive Officer Joe Elmore said he was outraged by the incident.

“There is no reason for cruelty against animals or humans, especially in this intentional and heinous manner,” he said in an email. “Someone had to take the time to find or buy electrical tape, then take more time in finding this innocent, adorable dog to bound its snout with its tongue between its teeth. These are the same type of criminals who murder and rape women, children and other defenseless living creatures. We will pull out all the stops to save Caitlyn’s life and to find the culprit(s) who did this to her.”

The shelter asked people who were donating toward the dog’s recovery to say where they lived on the Society’s Facebook page. Countries listed included Mexico, Ireland, Australia, Guatemala, England, Germany, New Zealand, Czech Republic, Canada, Belgium, Scotland, Indonesia, Estonia, the Philippines, Iceland, Hungary and Japan.

The story was picked up by CNN and the Daily Mail in London, to name just two major outlets.

Caitlyn’s treatment is being paid for through Toby’s Fund. Donations will also help other abused or injured animals, such as Louis, the dog found impaled on a tree branch in a marsh on Wadmalaw Island on May 4. It’s believed Louis climbed the tree and fell off.

North Charleston Animal Control is investigating Caitlyn’s case. The penalty for ill treatment of an animal is up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine.

More information on Toby’s Fund can be found at charlestonanimalsociety.org/tobys-fund.

Reach Dave Munday at 937-5553.