- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 9, 2016

The man responsible for infamously taping a dog’s muzzle shut with electrical tape in South Carolina has pleaded guilty to animal cruelty charges in a Charleston courtroom.

Gruesome images of a Staffordshire bull terrier mix named Diamond, since renamed Caitlyn, went viral last year when news of the abuse broke. William Leonard Dodson, 42, of North Charleston was scheduled to stand trial Aug. 22 but pleaded guilty instead.

Dodson has been in Charleston County jail since June 1, 2015. His sentencing was deferred until a sentencing report is complete, the Post and Courier reported Monday.

Investigators said that Dodson purchased the dog for $20 from local residents and then taped its mouth shut because it allegedly barked too much. He faces a fine up to $5,000 and a prison sentence anywhere from 180 days to five years for the felony.

Joe Elmore, CEO of the Charleston Animal Society, told the newspaper that Caitlyn has recovered physically but still struggles with the psychological impact of Mr. Dodson’s abuse.

“Our number one priority is Caitlyn’s health and well-being, and we are attending to special needs she has and will continue to do so,” Mr. Elmore said. “[She] would have died had someone not intervened. We won’t tolerate it anymore.”

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