Battersea urges action on animal cruelty after man jailed for taping shut his dog’s mouth

  • Posted on March 28, 2017


Battersea Dogs & Cats Home has welcomed the five-year sentence handed down to a US man who bound his pet dog’s mouth shut with electrical tape.

William Dodson, 43, was jailed this week by a South Carolina court after his Staffordshire Bull Terrier Caitlyn was found on the street with serious wounds to her nose and tongue after her mouth was taped shut. He claimed she had been barking too much.

Five years is South Carolina’s maximum sentence for animal cruelty – and we are campaigning to have this brought in for England and Wales too, after our research showed the current six-month maximum sentence is the lowest across Europe, the United States and Australia. More than 11,000 people have already signed up to support our campaign since it was launched last month.

Same cruel treatment, very different outcome

Battersea’s Deputy Chief Executive and Director of Operations, Peter Laurie, said:

“What Dodson did to Caitlyn was horrific. It’s dreadful to think of the suffering inflicted on an innocent dog to stop her from showing a perfectly natural behaviour.

“Battersea has seen exactly the same cruel treatment to a dog – but the outcome, had the perpetrator been to court, would have been laughably different.

“A few years ago, April the Staffie was brought into us on a freezing cold January night after she was found wandering the streets with her muzzle wired shut. April was in terrible pain and she was desperately frightened and confused. She wouldn’t even have been able to open her mouth to eat if she hadn’t been rescued.

“We never found the person who did this to April but even if they’d been prosecuted, the maximum sentence they would have received for the pain and suffering they forced April to endure is just six months in prison. It isn’t good enough. As the Dodson case proves, there are often times when a five-year sentence is entirely appropriate. At Battersea, we’re calling for the punishment to fit the crime.”

Get tough on animal cruelty

More than 11,000 members of the public have written to their MP in support of Battersea’s campaign for tougher sentences for animal cruelty offences. Peter Laurie added:

“April required several surgeries to repair the damage to her nose and mouth, and fortunately made a good recovery but, like Caitlyn, will always bear the scars from her ordeal.

“We need to get tough on animal cruelty – sentencing in England and Wales is no laughing matter. Let’s get in line with the rest of the world so animal abusers can be properly punished.”

Email your MP today and ask them to fight to change animal cruelty sentences.