A Newark woman will be in court Thursday to face animal abuse charges for stuffing her emaciated pit bull dog in a plastic bag and dumping him down the garbage chute of her apartment building.
"Patrick," so named because he was discovered by a maintenance man the day before St. Patrick's day, is recovering at a Associated Humane Society facility in Monmouth County.
His former owner, Kisha Curtis, 27, will now appear in Newark Municipal Court to face the charges against her.
"This is a very sad case of a helpless dog left unattended," Acting Essex County Prosecutor Carolyn Murray said in a statement.
She added "The information we have now indicates the defendant tied the dog to a railing and left the state of New Jersey for more than a week."
Apparently after her return, Curtis is believed to have sent her dog down the chute to a trash compactor where the maintenance man noticed movement in a plastic bag and opened it up to discover a breathing dog.Curtis is currently being held in the Passaic County Jail on charges of receiving stolen property.
Update March 31, 2011 - The following article is from News Times:
A New Jersey woman is due in court to face charges she abused a pit bull that was found dumped down a trash chute.Kisha Curtis is scheduled to be arraigned in Newark Municipal Court late Thursday morning.
Authorities believe Curtis tied the 1-year-old dog to a railing in her Newark apartment building and left the state for more than a week.
A janitor later found it in a trash bin.
The dog, who caretakers have named Patrick, is receiving treatment at an animal hospital.
The 27-year-old is charged with animal abuse. The New Jersey Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals had already charged Curtis with four counts of animal cruelty.
The Essex County Prosecutor's Office will determine whether to bring felony charges against Curtis.
Update March 31, 2011 - The following article is from CBS New York:
Newark Woman Accused Of Starving, Dumping Pit Bull Pleads Not Guilty
donations poured in from the around the world in support of the 1-year-old pit bull nicknamed Patrick.
Kisha Curtis appeared by video feed from the Essex County jail wearing an orange prison jumpsuit. Attorney Kelly Lerner, who represented Curtis for the arraignment, entered the plea on her behalf.
Meanwhile, Essex County’s courthouse has received more than 200 letters and faxes from around the world expressing concern for the dog and urging swift and harsh punishment for Curtis.
“She should not be treated with kid gloves,” a writer from Colorado says. “Throw the book at her,” another writes. One letter came from New Zealand.
Curtis is charged with two fourth-degree offenses for “tormenting and torturing” an animal by failing to provide food and water, the prosecutor’s office said. Those carry a maximum jail sentence of 18 months and a fine of up to $10,000, but the prosecutor’s office still has to determine whether those charges will be presented to a grand jury.
She also faces two abandonment charges that are disorderly persons offenses and are punishable by up to six months in jail with a $1,000 fine. Curtis, whose only previous brush with law is a 2003 shoplifting charge in Passaic County, could receive probation or community service, prosecutors said.
Municipal Court Judge Amilkar Velez-Lopez continued Curtis’ bail at $10,000 bond or $1,000 cash. She faces another court hearing in early May.
Authorities say Curtis tied the dog to a railing in her Newark apartment building and left the state for more than a week. A janitor later found the emaciated dog in a trash bin.
Curtis’ mother was in court Thursday and said her daughter was in Albany, N.Y., when the dog was believed to have been abused.
“Somebody gave her that dog but she couldn’t take care of it, so she tied it up outside hoping somebody else could take it,” Tammie Curtis said. “Somebody took that dog and did whatever they did to it.”
Patrick, named because he was found the day before St. Patrick’s Day, is being treated at Garden State Veterinary Specialists in Tinton Falls. On its website, the center wrote that is has received so many donations that it has discontinued accepting them and is urging people to donate to local animal shelters.
On March 16, the dog was found in the garbage of a Newark apartment building after apparently having been thrown down a trash chute in a plastic bag in the 22-story building.
When a maintenance worker discovered him, the pup was rushed to the trauma unit at the Garden State Veterinary Specialists.
It was determined the dog was severely anemic and malnourished. He received a blood transfusion and was later named Patrick.
Patrick’s progress also is being chronicled on a Facebook page. The page is crammed with messages from people interested in adopting him.
“He’s walking, which is a big symbol of hope, because he couldn’t walk in the beginning,” Assisstant Prosecutor Cheryl Cucinello said.
Listen to 1010 WINS News radio report
YouTube Video: Patrick Enjoys A Meal
Update April 19, 2011 - The following article is by Pamela Black, Change.org:
Patrick the Pit Bull Inspires Campaign to Change New Jersey's Animal Cruelty Laws
Last month, the story of Patrick, the one-year-old pit bull who had been starved and thrown down a garbage chute in New Jersey, spread across the world like wildfire. His near-death experience sparked a multitude of fan pages and groups looking for justice in his case and changes to animal cruelty laws nationwide.
bottom tier of Animal Legal Defense Fund’s annual ranking of state animal protection laws. These weak animal protection laws are something that Keith Stoeckeler is calling on New Jersey lawmakers to change. After hearing about Patrick, Keith felt he could no longer sit on the sidelines as animals are abused. He told me that Patrick’s story was the catalyst that “has only made me more passionate to [make] a difference in animal cruelty.”
In just over a month, Keith’s petition on Change.org has received over 4,000 signatures. Gaining in momentum, celebrities like Eva Longoria and Nathan Fillion have tweeted their support of the petition and ask others to do the same.
Here’s the condensed story of Patrick, the lucky pit who was rescued the day before St. Patrick’s Day:
Patrick was given to Kisha Curtis by a friend. Unable to provide for the dog, she tied him to a railing from her apartment for over a week while she was out of town. She claimed that she was trying to get someone to adopt him.
Nice try, Curtis. But stealing a dog from someone’s property is a crime. There are plenty of ways to rehome a dog, all of which somehow eluded this woman. Then again, we are talking about someone who couldn’t fulfill the simple act of giving her dog any food for at least a month.
After returning to town and finding Patrick still tied up, Curtis placed him in a garbage bag and dropped him down the garbage chute of her apartment building in Newark, New Jersey. Surviving the 19-story fall, the emaciated dog's fight for life got the attention of a maintenance worker who rescued him and immediately called for help.
While Patrick continues the slow process of healing and gaining weight (when found he weighed 20 pounds instead of the 50 pounds normal for his age and breed), the momentum to protect other animals from this fate is growing. You will be amazed by the recent photos showing how far he has progressed while under the watchful care of Garden State Veterinary Specialists.
Other websites have been set up in honor of Patrick. The Patrick Miracle has a Facebook page to keep the public informed of Patrick’s healing process. The Patrick’s Law website pushes for changes in animal cruelty laws in New Jersey and beyond.
It is truly incredible how much one little dog can help save the lives of countless others. Patrick had the will to survive and has certainly inspired all of us to be more compassionate toward animals. Sign the petition asking New Jersey to support harsher penalties for animal abuse.
Update April 22, 2011 - The following article is by Paul DeBenedetto, NBC New York:
Starved Pit Bull Recovering, Could Be Adopted By July
Patrick is said to be doing "absolutely wonderful" after operation
Patrick, the pit bull that was rescued after it was starved and discarded down a trash chute, is making progress and could be ready for adoption by July, his caregivers told NBC New York on Thursday.
Associated Humane Societies, the group handling the adoption of the animal that won the hearts of dog lovers everywhere, has received thousands of requests from people wanting to give him a home.
Bruce Sanchez, the organization's general manager, said it hopes to find Patrick a home by early July.
The pup will spend the next few months recovering from the devastating abuse he suffered. His caregivers say he has made great strides, and is now able to run and play with toys -- many of which have been donated from well-wishers.
He is "absolutely wonderful," said Patricia Smillie-Scavelli, administrator at Garden State Veterinary Specialists in Tinton, N.J.
On Tuesday, he had surgery to remove a solid, three-inch-long hairball from his stomach.
"It looked more like a big, flat rock," said Smillie-Scavelli. "It was very heavy."
The dog was also neutered and given a dental examination.
Associated Humane Societies said that Patrick's medical milestones are the promising first steps toward adoption.
But animals recovering from abuse and neglect often need to work on social behavior, such as growling and snapping, before moving on to a new home.
"This was just the first half of the battle," Sanchez told NBC New York. "Once they start to feel well, they start to have issues."
Patrick, named for being discovered the day before St. Patrick's day, was originally found by a Newark housing complex maintenance worker, who alerted the Associated Humane Societies.
The dog was allegedly tied to an apartment balcony and starved for more than a week by its owner, Kisha Curtis. The dog was then tossed in a garbage bag and shoved down the garbage chute of the 22-story building.
When the employee found the dog, Sanchez said the dried saliva in his mouth caused his mouth to fuse shut, and it had to be pried apart. He was "almost skeletal and clinging to life," Sanchez said in March.
The organization immediately put the dog on intravenous fluid and covered him with heating pads before transferring him to Garden State Veterinary Specialists.
Curtis, 27, pleaded not guilty to four counts of animal abuse on on March 31. Her mother said someone gave her the dog and she couldn't care for it.
The response from the public has been even greater than the Garden State Veterinary Specialists expected. Donations came in so rapidly via a PayPal account set up on the veterinarians' website that they had to shut down the account.
The center would not say how much was raised.
"The money received would far exceed what he would need," Smillie-Scavelli says. "The response has been overwhelming."