No matter where you live, you probably remember hearing the heart-wrenching story (and photo) of the staffie-mix dog found with her muzzle taped shut. Her name is Caitlyn and her story of survival went viral, shining a light on animal cruelty.
Nearly two years after she was found that day in Charleston, SC, Caitlyn has not only recovered from her injuries, she’s thriving, thanks to Charleston Animal Society (CAS), foster caregivers and everyone else who helped along the way. She’s also become the face of anti-cruelty efforts across the country and inspired CAS to launch Caitlyn’s Anti-Cruelty Fund.
“Because of Caitlyn, a dog with similar injuries in Vietnam, one in Canada and another in the United States were able to get the care and justice they deserved,” said Kay Hyman, CAS director of community engagement. “Caitlyn became a social media phenomenon and the hashtag #IamCaitlyn resonates with people to unite all animals that have been abused, neglected and battered.”
The fund is also currently helping with local cases, like Cappuccino’s.
“Cappuccino and eight other dogs were brought to Charleston Animal Society after being seized at a North Charleston residence,” said Hyman. “He was neglected and emaciated, and his temperature was so low that it didn’t even register on a thermometer.”
The staff wasn’t sure he would make it through the night. “After stabilizing him, we transferred him to Veterinary Specialty Care for overnight treatment. He received a blood transfusion, IV fluids and parasite treatments. There is a criminal investigation underway but our greatest focus is providing the best lifesaving care for these animals.”
While Cappuccino is on the mend, the medical costs for this case have skyrocketed to nearly $5,000. His current care has been made possible thanks to donations to Caitlyn’s Anti-Cruelty Fund. He remains in foster care, while four of the dogs have been adopted.
“Caitlyn is a true champion for all animals,” Hyman said. “Her story has not only helped to bring to light the plight of animals in our community it has also shown that we as a society are not going to tolerate abuse toward humans or animals.”
CAS has developed a multi-pronged approach for Caitlyn’s Anti-Cruelty Fund, with the majority of donations being allocated to medical treatment and outreach. Per their website, here’s the breakdown of how the donated funds will be spent to help address and prevent animal cruelty cases:
- Medical treatment of cruelty cases
- Outreach efforts to educate and help pet owners enhance care for their pets before it becomes neglect
- Investigations helping law enforcement effectively charge animal abusers
- Training for animal control officers, law enforcement and the courts to bring animal abusers to justice
- Rewards leading to the arrest and conviction of animal abusers: In many cases, as with other crimes, people are hesitant to step forward with information, and rewards can help draw out leads for investigators
Learn more about Cappuccino, Caitlyn’s Anti-Cruelty Fund and the lifesaving work Charleston Animal Society is doing here.