Case Snapshot
Case ID: 17625
Classification: Neglect / Abandonment
Animal: dog (pit-bull)
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Attorneys/Judges
Prosecutor(s): Carolyn Murray, Cheryl Cucinello
Defense(s): Regina Lynch, Andrew Rojas
Judge(s): Amilkar Velez-Lopez, Joseph Cassini III


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Wednesday, Mar 16, 2011

County: Essex

Charges: Felony CTA
Disposition: Alleged
Case Images: 6 files available

Alleged: Kisha Curtis

Case Updates: 14 update(s) available

Patrick was starved for so long he was no longer able to walk and his skin had sunk into the cavity of his hip bones and spinal column. Then sometime last week, the 1-year-old pit bull was put in a garbage bag and tossed down a trash chute at the Garden Spires apartment building in Newark.

But that probably saved Patrick's life because a custodian saw the bag move as he was emptying the trash.

"His eyelids were moving a little. But he was just lifeless -- his body hung there when we picked him up," animal control officer Arthur Skinner said, of the dog's condition when he was found last Wednesday.

Patrick was taken to Garden State Veterinary Specialists in Tinton Falls, where he's being nursed back to health.

The Patrick Miracle facebook page
Make a donation for Patrick's care

Hospital staff say it's one of the worst cases of abuse they've seen.

"He's the worst I've ever seen as far as starvation, skin and bones go," said Katharine Palmer, an emergency critical care specialist at the animal hospital. "The first couple days after he came in he wasn't able to stand or bear weight he was so weak."

Slowly, though, Patrick is recovering.

Seven veterinarians and several veterinary technicians have been nursing Patrick around-the-clock, feeding him intravenously and warming him with heated blankets.

"The recovery is remarkable," hospital administrator Patricia Smillie-Scavelli said.

By Monday, Patrick, who was named by hospital staff on St. Patrick's Day, was able to sit up and walk. He's now off IV fluids and eats carefully measured canned dog food.

"As much as we'd like to feed him everything he wants, we can't," Palmer said.

Patrick spends most of his time in his cage, napping next to stuffed animals donated by the hospital's staff. He doesn't bark or wag his tail, but lifts his head whenever someone passes by.

"He actually likes the touch, he looks for it," Smillie-Scavelli said.

Officials from the Monmouth County Humane Society have offered a $2,000 reward for information leading to the dog's abuser.

Palmer said Patrick will remain in the intensive care unit for a few more days before being transferred to the regular ward. After that, he will go to a pet foster care program and will be available for adoption.

While many abused dogs can be skittish or aggressive, Patrick is not, Palmer said.

"He is so loving in return," she said.


Case Updates

The Newark woman charged with tossing her emaciated pit bull down a trash chute admitted today she had abandoned the dog but added she "never harmed him or tortured him in any way."

Following an appearance in Superior Court in Newark this morning, Kisha Curtis said in her first extended interview since her arrest last year that she did not starve the canine, which was found near dead in March 2011 at the bottom of the trash chute in a Newark high-rise.

Curtis, 28, said she only had the dog, which has been renamed Patrick and is now healthy, for just two days before leaving the animal in her hallway for the security guard to handle. She admitted she could not take care of the dog, and said the security guard would. Curtis said the dog was doing well when she leashed it to a stairwell doorknob in her hallway, adding she was upset after seeing photos in the news of the emaciated animal days later.

"He was healthy the last time I saw him, and that's how I expected him to be," Curtis said today outside the courthouse. Curtis also said she was the dog's third owner, and that she hadn't even given it a name. He was later named Patrick by veterinarians of the Tinton Falls center, where he was nursed back to health.

Curtis faces a fourth-degree cruelty to animals charge for allegedly tossing the now-famous pit bull. She has previously rejected an offer from the Essex County Prosecutor's Office calling for up to 18 months in prison, a $5,000 fine and 30 days' community service.

Curtis is applying for a pretrial intervention program, which if accepted, would eventually wipe the criminal charge from her record. Today, her public defender asked the court for more time, and a July 31 court date was set.



There is also an ongoing civil suit between the City of Newark and Associated Humane Societies, which claims custody of Patrick. Superior Court Judge Joseph Cassini III, who is handling the criminal case against Curtis and the civil case, has ordered the dog temporarily remain in the home of the administrator of the veterinary facility.

Curtis, who now has a small red heart tattoo just above her nose, said she would take responsibility for abandoning the animal but not for torturing it, and was "completely destroyed" after learning Patrick had been abused.

Now that the dog has recovered, Curtis said she is "happy about that. I wish him well...Mainly, I'm embarrassed and still feel a lot of pain."
Source: NJ.Com - July 9, 2012
Update posted on Jul 9, 2012 - 11:09PM 
Threatened with a possible arrest for skipping a scheduled court hearing Tuesday, the Newark woman charged with tossing her pit bull down a trash chute appeared in Superior Court this morning, the Essex County Prosecutor's Office said.

Kisha Curtis, 28, made her court appearance today, after showing up at the courthouse in Newark at 8:30 a.m., "bright and early," said Essex County Chief Assistant Prosecutor Keith Harvest.

Curtis' failure to appear at Tuesday's status hearing in Superior Court was the result of a miscommunication with her attorney, Harvest said. Curtis, charged with fourth-degree cruelty to animals for allegedly dropping her now-famous pit bull named Patrick down a high-rise trash chute in March 2011, thought she didn't have to appear in court, Harvest said.

Curtis had received a waiver from her last court hearing because she was having a baby, and incorrectly believed the same applied at Tuesday's hearing, Harvest said.

On Tuesday, Superior Court Judge Joseph Cassini III gave her attorney Andrew Rojas a day to produce his client, or a bench warrant would be issued for her arrest. When finally informed about the mixup, Curtis promptly showed up today, resolving the issue, Harvest said.

A followup court hearing is scheduled for July 9, at which point a trial date may be set or a final plea offer extended, Rojas said.

Curtis is applying for a pretrial intervention program, which if accepted, would eventually wipe the criminal charge from her record. She has previously rejected the state's plea offer that calls for up to 18 months in prison, a $5,000 fine and 30 days' community service.
Source: NJ.Com - May 30, 2012
Update posted on Jul 9, 2012 - 11:04PM 
The woman charged with tossing her now famous pit bull down a high-rise trash chute last year skipped her scheduled court appearance today and now has 24 hours before a warrant is issued for her arrest.

Kisha Curtis, 28, of Newark, stands indicted on a fourth-degree animal cruelty charge in connection with the March 2011 incident at the Garden Spires apartment complex. The pit bull, since renamed Patrick, attracted national attention and an outpouring of sympathy when it was found emaciated and near-death.

Curtis, who is free on bail, was supposed to appear in Superior Court in Newark this morning for a status hearing but never showed. By 11:30 a.m., her attorney, Andrew Rojas, told the judge he hadn't heard from her in a week.

"I'm quite concerned," Rojas told Superior Court Judge Joseph Cassini III, in requesting a stay of 48 hours before a bench warrant was issued. Rojas said his client had made all five previous court appearances, including a few in front of a swarm of reporters when the case grabbed headlines in its early days.

Essex County Assistant Prosecutor Cheryl Cucinello opposed Rojas' request for more time.

Judges routinely issue bench warrants when defendants fail to appear in court. In the end, the judge gave Curtis another day, but cautioned he will issue the warrant if Curtis "doesn't appear or there isn't a sufficient explanation" by 4 p.m. Wednesday.

Curtis has previously rejected the state's plea offer calling for up to 18 months in prison, a $5,000 fine and 30 days' community service.

Patrick has since made a full recovery but remains at the center of an ongoing civil suit between the City of Newark and Associated Humane Societies, which claims custody of the animal. Cassini, who is also handling that case, has ordered the dog temporarily remain in the home of the administrator of a Tinton Falls veterinary facility.
Source: nj.com - May 29, 2012
Update posted on May 29, 2012 - 9:10PM 
Patrick the pit bull is healthy and happy and doesn't need any visitors, a judge in Newark told an animal welfare group Thursday when he denied its request to inspect the now famous canine.

Patrick, found emaciated and near death last year after getting tossed down the trash chute at a Newark high-rise, is now with a family "that loves him," Superior Court Judge Joseph Cassini III said at the hearing. "It is a miracle that Patrick survived, and to say he landed on his feet would be an understatement."

Meanwhile, the criminal case drags on against Patrick's owner, Kisha Curtis, who stands charged with animal cruelty.

In his remarks to the court, Cassini also sounded a personal note by criticizing the animal welfare group, Associated Humane Societies, for making the request to inspect the 2-year-old dog, and for continuing to seek permanent custody of the animal.

"The question I have is AHS' fidelity and integrity," Cassini told the group's attorney, Harry Levin, who had asked that a veterinarian and animal behaviorist check on Patrick. The judge questioned the organization's motives, asking what its "intent and reason" was for wanting to keep the dog.

Patrick's plight gained national attention, and Associated Humane Societies soon plastered photos of the dog on its website to raise money for its shelters. Not to be outdone, Newark Mayor Cory Booker appropriated Patrick's story as part of his own campaign to raise money for a planned no-kill city animal shelter.

In an interview outside the courtroom, Levin said AHS wants to keep the "spotlight focused on the criminal case. We're making sure people who commit animal cruelty are prosecuted," he said.

Levin also called it "highly inappropriate for this judge to offer his personal feelings."

Patrick remains in the custody of Garden State Veterinary Specialists of Tinton Falls, which nursed him back to health when he arrived in March 2011 weighing just 19 pounds. Now more than 50 pounds, Patrick is temporarily staying in the home of Patricia Smillie-Scavelli, the hospital's administrator.

Associated Humane Societies claims custody of Patrick, citing an existing contract with the city of Newark, which it is suing. Newark is being represented pro bono by the high-powered law firm of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld.

The custody dispute can't be resolved until the criminal case against Curtis is finished. Patrick remains both "victim and evidence" in that case, the judge said. That means the Essex County Prosecutor's Office, which is handling the case, maintains temporary possession of the animal. Assistant Prosecutor Margarita Rivera said in court that "the state is satisfied that canine Patrick is being well cared for,"

Curtis, who was not in court Thursday, was indicted on a fourth-degree animal cruelty charge and faces a year in prison if convicted. She allegedly tied Patrick to a fence at the Garden Spires complex then abandoned him.

Her attorney, Andrew Rojas, has filed an application to enroll her in a pretrial intervention program. If accepted, Curtis' charge would be wiped from her record. But that application remains pending and no date has been set for another court hearing. Curtis, who lives in Newark, has indicated she will relinquish custody of the animal.
Source: nj.com - Apr 20, 2012
Update posted on Apr 20, 2012 - 1:29PM 
New Jersey's largest animal shelter organization is seeking permanent custody of Patrick the pit bull, the scruffy brown canine found emaciated last March at the bottom of a Newark high-rise garbage chute.

An attorney for Associated Humane Societies filed the petition during today's criminal court hearing for Kisha Curtis, the dog owner charged with animal cruelty for allegedly tying Patrick to a fence at the Garden Spires complex then abandoning him.

The Essex County Prosecutor's Office, which is handling the criminal case, is not alleging Curtis tossed the dog down the chute, spokeswoman Katherine Carter said.

Patrick, now 2 years old, remains in the custody of Garden State Veterinary Specialists of Tinton Falls, which nursed the dog back to health when he arrived weighing just 19 pounds. Now more than 50 pounds, Patrick is temporarily staying with Patricia Smillie-Scavelli, the hospital's administrator.

Since Patrick was discovered on March 16 " he was renamed in honor of St. Patrick " a legal tug-of-war has broken out, pitting Associated Humane against Garden State Veterinary and the city of Newark. Both sides accuse the other of trying to profit from Patrick's plight.

Associated Humane has also sued Newark for breach of contract, claiming Patrick should have been handed over to the group from the start, according to its attorney, Harry Levin. He said the century-old nonprofit will find a suitable family for the dog, adding the matter has dragged on too long.

"This is an animal cruelty case," he said. "Why are such extensive public resources being used?"

A similar request last year by the group for temporary custody of the dog was denied in court.

Anne Torres, a Newark spokeswoman, said "the city did not believe it was in Patrick's best interest to be taken from his current caretaker and turned over to Associated Humane."

The custody battle has overshadowed the criminal proceeding, in which Curtis still faces more than a year in prison if found guilty of fourth-degree animal cruelty.

Curtis appeared in Superior Court in Newark today " visibly pregnant " where she pleaded not guilty to the indictment. Her public defender, Andrew Rojas, will seek to dismiss the charges, and has filed a motion alleging his client's Miranda rights were violated when she gave her statement to police.

Curtis has so far rejected the state's plea offer calling for up to 18 months in prison, a $5,000 fine, 30 days community service and termination of animal custody rights.

Superior Court Judge Joseph Cassini III, who is handling the criminal case and custody matter, set a court date for March 19.
Source: nj.com - Jan 20, 2012
Update posted on Jan 23, 2012 - 4:39PM 
An Essex County Grand Jury indicted Kisha Curtis today charging her with Fourth Degree Animal Cruelty for abandoning a one-year-old pit bull in March.

Patrick the pitbull, as he was named because he was discovered on March 16, St. Patrick's Day, had been starved, thrown into a plastic garbage bag and thrown down the trash chute of the Gardens Spires apartment. A maintenance worker discovered the emaciated bag of bones and called authorities.

At the time of his discovery, Patrick weighed less than 19 pounds. Now the healthy dog, thanks to the miraculous efforts of Garden State Veterinary Specialists in Tinton Falls, the brown and white pit bull is fully recovered, weighs 51 pounds and is currently being cared for by his foster family in Monmouth County until the end of the trial when he will probably be adopted.

If found guilty, Curtis could spend up to 18 months in jail.

Curtis will be arraigned on December 3.

Finally Patrick may get a bit of justice and bring hope to all who can not speak for themselves.
Source: examiner.com - Nov 18, 2011
Update posted on Nov 18, 2011 - 8:01PM 
A Grand Jury hearing at the Newark Courthouse is to be continued next Friday against Kisha Curtis, 28 who has been charged with four counts of animal cruelty in the case of a one-year-old pit bull found in a trash chute of the Garden Spires Apartments on March 16.

Testimony will be heard from New Jersey Society for the Prevention of Cruelty witnesses.

Curtis has been charged with abandonment and failure to provide sustenance for an animal. Curtis allegedly has admitted that she starved Patrick, the name given to the emaciated dog found in a plastic garbage bag by a janitor as he cleaned out the apartment's garbage container. Patrick has since recovered and continues his rehabillitation at Garden State Veterinary Specialists in Tinton Falls.

A Grand Jury hearing is comprised of a panel of 16 to 23 ordinary citizens who act as jurors. There is no judge, defendant, or criminal defense attorney present. A county prosecutor presents the case to a panel, and a simple majority is all that is required for a grand jury indictment.
Update posted on Oct 15, 2011 - 10:33PM 
Patrick the pit bull, who was found in March emaciated in a trash bin in Newark, has suddenly become the focus of a custody battle.

According to an Associates Press report on timesunion.com, the Humane Society has filed a 40-page motion to move the recovering pit bull to Popcorn Park Zoo, a housing for abused and neglected animals.

Superior Court Judge Joseph Cassini signed an order last month which declared that Patrick would stay at Garden State Veterinary Specialists in Tinton Falls while the criminal case was proceeding.

Newark claims its contract with AHS doesn't give the association custody of Patrick.

The AHS feels they should have been notified of the judge's original order. They also claim that the Society has legal rights to Patrick because they took him to their shelter first before moving him to Garden State Veterinary.

The motion states: "Patrick is no different than any other stray or abandoned picked up in any other city " once he was rescued by AHS, he became the property of AHS." The city of Newark is opposing the motion and feels the dog should remain at the hospital until he is ready to be adopted.
Source: newjerseynewsroom.com - May 6, 2011
Update posted on May 6, 2011 - 8:44PM 
Kisha Curtis, the Newark woman accused of abusing and abandoning the 1-year-old pit bull named Patrick, appeared for the first time in Superior Court this morning, pleading not guilty to animal cruelty counts.

Meanwhile, on either side of the West Market Street courthouse, nearly 100 protesters from two loosely organized animal-advocate groups called attention to what they said were the state's lax laws against animal abuse.

Curtis, 27, was charged last month with two counts of tormenting and torturing a living creature and two counts of abandonment. The emaciated dog was found by a custodian in a trash bag that dumped down a Newark apartment building's trash chute in mid-March.

Patrick, so named because he was found the day after St. Patrick's Day, has become synonymous with animal cruelty. Several animal rights groups nationwide and advocating for Patrick and stricter animal-abuse laws have popped up on the Internet since the case became public.

In court today, Assistant Essex County Prosecutor Cheryl Cucinello told Judge Joseph Cassini III she would present an evaluation of the evidence to a grand jury within two weeks.

Curtis, who appeared in court wearing a red top, blue jeans and sneakers, did not speak at the roughly 20-minute hearing, officially a plea disposition conference.

In a departure from protocol, Cassini addressed the case's notoriety this morning and gave courtroom attendees a lesson in civics.

"There's been an amount of emotion surrounding this event," Cassini said. But, he added, "those emotions … don't trump the rule of law."

Cassini said he felt compelled to make those comments after receiving several emails in the last few days. He said it was the court's role to ensure that due process is achieved, for both Curtis and prosecutors.

And although Cassini said that to some the judicial process would take too long to achieve a result, he said that was purposeful. "The wheels of justice grind slowly so that justice can be done," he said.

The pit bull is currently recuperating at a Tinton Falls veterinary hospital.

"He's doing really well," said Patricia Smillie-Scavelli, hospital administrator of Garden State Veterinary Specialists, in a phone interview today. "He's a people dog."

Cassini set June 2 as the date when he would decide where Patrick would ultimately be placed.

Before the plea conference got underway this morning, one animal-rights advocate, Gerry Leighton, said Patrick's plight was partly the result of lax state laws against animal cruelty.

"They're not trash," Leighton, of Flanders, said.

"They're helpless," she said. "They depend on us for their well-being."
Source: nj.com - May 6, 2011
Update posted on May 6, 2011 - 8:39PM 
Officials say the woman accused of abandoning her dog for a week and then dropping him down a garbage chute was freed from jail after she posted her bail.

Kisha Curtis, 27, of Newark, is facing four animal abuse charges after her 1-year-old pet pit bull was found in the trash at her apartment building.

Prosecutors say Curtis left her dog tied to a railing for a week while she was out of the state, then dropped the animal down the garbage chute when she came home.

The dog, whom rescuers have named Patrick, is recovering at a Tinton Falls animal hospital, where caretakers say he's doing "as well as can be expected."

Curtis' bail had been set at $10,000 bond or $1,000 cash. She's due back in court in May.
Source: news12.com - Apr 4, 2011
Update posted on Apr 4, 2011 - 2:28PM 
A Newark woman accused of starving her pit bull and then throwing it out with her garbage has pleaded not guilty to four counts of animal abuse.

Kisha Curtis, 27, appeared in an Essex County, N.J. courtroom Thursday to be arraigned on charges that she tied the dog to a balcony railing and left the state for more than a week, only to return and toss the starved, neglected animal down her apartment building's garbage chute.

Curtis' mother, Tammie Curtis, was present for the arraignment. She defended her daughter, claiming "the media is killing her."

"Somebody gave that dog to Kisha," her mother said, "and she couldn't take care of it."

Judge Amilkar Velez-Lopez left her bail at $10,000, an amount her attorney, Public Defender Regina Lynch said she could not afford.

The dog, who was named Patrick by animal rescue workers, was found in a dumpster the day before St. Patrick's Day.

Tamie Curtis said her daughter had left the dog tied up, hoping that someone else would adopt it when she moved out of the building in mid-March.

"She left him because she wanted somebody to adopt him," Curtis said.

"Patrick is a symbol of hope in this world," Assistant Prosecutor Cheryl Cucinello said after the arraignment while worrying that as a fourth degree crime, someone convicted on these charges could "walk away with a slap on the wrist."

Cucinello urged legislators to make similar abuse cases third or second degree crimes, with much stiffer penalties and almost guaranteed jail time.

Prosecutor Carolyn Murray is taking this case so seriously that she assigned two assistants who normally handle homicides to the case. Both assistants have and love dogs, she said.

Meantime, more people could be charged. Assistant Prosecutor Eileen O'Connor said "We're still investigating whether there may be other individuals involved."

Patrick's plight has sparked a nationwide outpouring of sympathy and anger.

An official with the Essex County courts system showed off hundreds of letters, mostly by fax, that have been received in recent days, many of them expressing outrage at Curtis.

A letter from a woman in Colorado said "if she did that to a child she would spend life in prison. Animals are children.

In general, the letters ask for justice for Patrick, court officials said.
Source: nbcnewyork.com - Mar 31, 2011
Update posted on Mar 31, 2011 - 12:12PM 
The Newark woman who allegedly starved her 1-year-old pit bull dog and then cruelly tossing his body down a trash compacter in her apartment building is facing a felony charge.

Cheryl Moses, a clerk for Essex County Prosecutor's Office Public Affairs Director, said Kisha Curtis's arraignment date is set for Thursday and she has been given a $10,000 bond.

"We expect her to be transferred from the Passaic County jail where she is being held on an unrelated charge, either today or Thursday," Moses told the New Jersey Newsroom. "Her arraignment date is set for Thursday at the Essex Courthouse on the Fifth floor."

According to the Star-Ledger, Curtis allegedly left the dog tied to a railing while she left New Jersey for more than a week. As far as Frank Rizzo, superintendent of the New Jersey Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is concerned, that's not just cruelty to an animal, its torture.

That factor and the way that Patrick was found prompted his agency to ask that Curtis be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. "Somebody discarded him while he was still alive. That's what makes it of much more concern," Rizzo said.

Mark A. Ortman, the employee at the Garden Spires apartment complex who found Patrick in the trash compactor, told the Examiner prior to finding Patrick in the trash compactor, he found the dog on the building's 19th floor, tethered to a stairwell. He later learned the owner of the dog was Kisha "Red" Curtis. She allegedly told Ortman that she tied the dog up because he had repeatedly bitten her.

According to the Examiner, Ortman said Patrick was thin and very docile, but playful. Ortman described Curtis' living conditions as "subhuman," and added that the front door of the apartment was "barely on its hinges." He said while the apartment appeared "unlivable" and it "hardly made sense" Curtis would have been taking care of the dog, there were no legal ground for him to do anything.

"I never forgot the look in that puppy's face when I left," said Ortman.

Initially, Curtis, 27, was charged with four counts of animal cruelty. The fourth-degree criminal charge was upgraded from previously filed animal cruelty charges. If convicted of the felony charge, she could face up to 18 months in jail and a $3,000 fine.

Curtis is in the Passaic County jail on a receiving stolen goods charge. Jail records show an April 5 court date for Curtis on that charge at the Wayne Municipal Court.

Patrick, who got his name from hospital staff, was brought to the Garden State Veterinary Specialists in Tinton Falls after Ortman found him at the bottom of the trash compactor March 16.

Doctors at GSVS say that while Patrick is improving and has gained a little over two pounds, a foreign object lodged in his intestines is causing them concern. The object does not seem to be hindering Patrick's progress, but doctors told the Examiner that if Patrick does not pass the object, they will have to remove it, and right now, the pup is not strong enough for anesthesia. The next step, according to the article, would be to use an endoscope to determine what the object is and finally, to decide if surgery is necessary.

Donations for Patrick are still being accepted, but now you can make them directly to the Associated Humane Society.

If you would like to keep up with Patrick's daily progression, do so by joining the GSVS Facebook page and click on "The Patrick Miracle."
Source: newjerseynewsroom.com - Mar 30, 2011
Update posted on Mar 30, 2011 - 9:03PM 
A Newark woman was arrested and charged with torture Tuesday in the case of a starved pit bull puppy allegedly thrown 19 stories into a garbage chute and left for dead, New Jersey officials tell FoxNews.com.

Kisha Curtis, the 28-year-old owner, was charged Tuesday with "torture and torment of a living creature," said Matthew Stanton, a spokesman for the New Jersey Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

The fourth-degree criminal charge was upgraded from previously filed animal cruelty charges, Stanton said. Curtis faces 18 months in jail or a $3,000 fine if convicted.

Stanton said that Curtis, who is currently being held at the Passaic County jail on $10,000 bail, has denied throwing the dog into the chute. Curtis claims that the dog was tied up outside and that someone else took him, Stanton said.

Stanton added that the investigation into the crime is ongoing. He said the NJSPCA is working to determine whether anyone else was involved in the abuse and disposal of the animal.

Patrick, who is making a slow but steady recovery at the animal hospital, is receiving donations from as far away as Europe and has a Facebook page created in his honor.

Animal rights advocates, meanwhile, are proposing a measure called "Patrick's Law" that would put in place tougher animal abuse legislation.

"We are inspired by the story of Patrick, the sweet pit bull puppy from New Jersey," the grassroots group behind the cause wrote on its Facebook page. "It is our intention to form chapters in every state that will coordinate on a national basis, to move the media and encourage government officials to improve the protection for animals in our country."
Source: foxnews.com - Mar 29, 2011
Update posted on Mar 29, 2011 - 8:52PM 
A Newark woman has been charged with four counts of animal cruelty in the case of a 1-year-old pit bull found starved and barely alive inside an apartment building garbage chute, New Jersey officials tell FoxNews.com.

Kisha Curtis, 28, was charged Friday with two counts of abandonment and two counts of failure to provide proper sustenance to the animal, according to Matthew Stanton, a spokesman for the New Jersey Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

The pit bull, hailed by animal care workers as a "miracle dog," was discovered March 16 by maintenance workers inside a garbage chute at the Garden Spires apartment building -- a 550-unit complex in Newark notorious for drug trade and other crimes.

The dog was found so brutalized that his bones protruded from his fur and he had no body temperature. Animal care workers with the Associated Humane Societies/Popcorn Park called it one of the worst cases of cruelty they've ever seen.

Newark Animal Control rushed the dog to the 24-hour Garden State Veterinary Specialists in Tinton Falls, N.J., where he was given a blood transfusion, pumped with fluids and covered with heating blankets.

The dog was later named "Patrick" because he made it through the night and into St. Patrick's Day. Veterinarians said he would have died within 6 to 12 hours if he hadn't received medical care.

"It was a rebirth," said Karen Powell, an AHS spokeswoman.

Stanton told FoxNews.com that Curtis, the alleged owner, faces two criminal counts and two civil counts, which he said could result in up to six months in jail or a $1,000 fine and community service if convicted.

"It all depends on the judge," he said. "She [Curtis] caused the animal to be in that condition. She indicated that she couldn't take care of him anymore."

Stanton said the woman denied throwing the dog into the chute at the 22-story apartment building. Curtis could not be reached for comment when contacted Saturday by FoxNews.com.

Stanton added that the investigation into the crime is ongoing. He said the NJSPCA is working to determine whether anyone else was involved in the abuse and disposal of the animal.

Patrick, meanwhile, is making a slow but steady recovery at the animal hospital. Veterinary staff said the dog is now standing and eating small amounts of food several times a day.

"He loves people," Powell said.

Authorities are urging anyone with information on the crime to call the NJSPCA tip line at 1-800-582-5979.

Graphic warning: Click on the AHS website for more information on Patrick
Source: foxnews.com - Mar 26, 2011
Update posted on Mar 26, 2011 - 7:41PM 

References

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