GRAPHIC IMAGE: Dog found with muzzle taped shut

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD/AP) – Authorities are investigating after a 15-month old dog was found with its muzzle taped shut with electrical tape.

The Charleston Animal Society said in a statement Thursday that the dog, named Caitlyn, is a 15-month-old chocolate staffie mix.

The stray was last seen healthy by residents Monday. She turned up Wednesday on the doorstep of a home with her muzzle taped.

Animal Society veterinarian Lucy Fuller said Caitlyn is in critical condition because the tape cut off blood flow to her tongue.

The tape was so tight around Caitlyn’s muzzle that her tongue was caught between her teeth, stopping blood flow to her tongue.

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Officials think that the tape was on Caitlyn for up to 36 to 48 hours.

“Caitlyn is in a lot of pain, her condition is critical, and her prognosis is guarded,” said Fuller. “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.”

North Charleston Animal Control is investigating the case and looking for whoever is responsible.

Charleston Animal Society is offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible, and Friday the Humane Society of the United States added another $5,000.

If convicted of ill treatment of an animal, the guilty party could face up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine.

Officials think that the tape was on Caitlyn for up to 36 to 48 hours. (WCBD Photo)