Since horrific images spread of a South Carolina stray dog found with her muzzle tightly shut by electrical tape, donations and support from around the world have been pouring in for Caitlyn, the 15-month-old Staffordshire Terrier mix who was receiving treatment Friday at an emergency veterinary clinic.
And the reward shot up Friday from $1,000 to $6,000 for information leading to the conviction of those responsible for what one official called "the most malicious case of animal abuse I have seen in my entire career."
Caitlyn — by all accounts a well-known and friendly stray — was discovered on a Charleston doorstep with her tongue sticking out between her teeth as the tape pressed her muzzle closed. Veterinary officials believe she may have been left in that condition — without the ability to eat, drink or pant — for as many as 48 hours over Memorial Day weekend.
"Caitlyn is in a lot of pain, her condition is critical, and her prognosis is guarded,” Charleston Animal Society Senior Director of Veterinary Care Dr. Lucy Fuller told WCIV-TV. “A large part of her tongue may need to be removed surgically if the tissue dies from the lack of blood flow. She may be severely disfigured, or the large amount of dead tissue may cause life-threatening complications."
If Caitlyn loses her tongue, it would hinder her ability to drink and cool herself, the Post and Courier reported.
In the meantime the Humane Society of the United States stepped in and added to the reward.
“Caitlyn is a friendly dog who may have suffered for days and is now fighting for her life," Kimberly Kelly, South Carolina state director for the HSUS, told WCIV. "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."
Donations for Caitlyn have come from all parts of the U.S. as well as from many other countries.
The Post and Courier said individuals from Mexico, Ireland, Australia, Guatemala, England, Germany, New Zealand, the Czech Republic, Canada, Belgium, Scotland, Indonesia, Estonia, the Philippines, Iceland, Hungary and Japan have stepped up, according to the Charleston Animal Society's Facebook page.
Donations for Caitlyn are paid through Toby’s Fund, the Post and Courier reported.
The penalty for this type of crime is up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine.
"This is the most malicious case of animal abuse I have seen in my entire career,” Charleston Animal Society Director of Anti-Cruelty & Outreach Aldwin Roman told WCIV, “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."
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