By KATE MOSSO, WCIV
JOHNS ISLAND, S.C. (CIRCA via WCIV) — In May 2015, a photo of Caitlyn the dog, with her muzzle taped shut, went viral.
People from all over the world donated money for her jaw-reconstruction surgery.
Now, she's found a forever home, and the owner who adopted her has been defending her from the very start.
Ted Corvey prosecuted the horrific animal cruelty case for Charleston County, South Carolina. He says he'll never forget meeting Caitlyn, then a skittish, scared dog with a broken jaw.
"I really formed a good connection with her, so that got me really emotionally invested in the case. From there, we just started preparing it for trial,” he said.
Caitlyn's abuser, William Leonard Dodsen, pleaded guilty to animal cruelty charges in August of that year.
“When he wound up indicating he wanted to plead guilty, I was thrilled, because I was pretty nervous about heading into trial the next week,” Corvey said.
Today, Caitlyn's made a full physical recovery and found a home with Corvey's family.
“She’s super sweet and very playful and, like I said, my wife and I are just very lucky to have her,” he said.
After living with foster families Caitlyn was officially adopted by the former prosecutor and his wife in October 2017.
“After night one, it was an obvious fit, and we knew she was never gonna go,” Corvery said.
She's lived with the couple, puggle-mix Lucy and dachshund-mix Sully ever since. If you're wondering, Caitlyn is a mix between a border collie, boxer, Staffordshire terrier and German shepherd.
Now, the dog dad says people all over the world are still talking about Caitlyn's story.
"The most amazing thing from my involvement was the amount of calls that flooded our office and letters, even months and years after the case had been going on," he said.
And Caitlyn loves the attention she gets as a local celebrity.
“People recognize her pretty often," Corvery said. "It will start with, 'Oh, I wonder if that’s Caitlyn,' and then they come over and ask.”
Corvey hopes Caitlyn's story keeps inspiring survivors of all kinds.
“Not just animal abuse victims, but humans, too, who went through a hard time but were able to persevere," he said.
Caitlyn's former owner and abuser was sentenced to five years for animal cruelty. He's serving 15 years in federal prison on unrelated gun and drug charges.
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