NEWARK, NJ—Kisha Curtis, the 29-year-old woman who has admitted that she abused and neglected a pit bull now known as Patrick faces up to 18 months in jail and a fine of up to $10,000 when she appears for sentencing Thursday in Superior Court in Newark.
Curtis pleaded guilty to animal cruelty on July 30 as her trial was about to begin.
The abused, starving one-year old dog was found wrapped in a plastic bag at the bottom of a garbage chute the day before St. Patrick’s Day in 2011, barely alive. His emaciated state sparked international outrage.
Curtis will be sentenced by Judge Joseph Cassini III. The judge will also rule on the ongoing custody battle for Patrick.
Curtis is the woman who has admitted starving the one year old pit bull so long he could not longer walk and then placing the emaciated dog in a garbage bag and throwing him down a 22-story trash chute to die nearly two years ago.
It has been estimated that the dog had been left without sustenance for nearly two months, tied to a stairwell railing of the 22-story apartment complex where Curtis lived at the time on the 19th floor.
Curtis had consistently pleaded not guilty. She claims she never harmed the dog but does acknowledge abandoning the dog by leaving it tied to a railing in the hallway outside her apartment.
She claims Patrick was in good physical condition when she left it before boarding a bus for Albany where she stayed for more than a week.
Curtis had repeatedly rejected a plea deal from the Essex County (NJ) Prosecutor’s office which would seen her spend up to 18 months in state prison, a $5,000 fine and 30 days of community service.
The dog was found at the bottom of the garbage chute on March 16, 2011, by a maintenance man who saw the garbage bag move when he was emptying the trash. The dog had been starved for so long his skin had sunk into the cavity of his hip bones and spinal column. He weighed only 19 pounds and was shivering.
After the maintenance worker found the emaciated dog, his supervisor dialed 911, Newark animal control officer Arthur Skinner responded and took Patrick to Associated Humane Societies where Dr. Lisa Bongiovanni gave him a bag of saline and a blanket and sent him to the Garden State Veterinary Specialists.
Had the maintenance worker not seen movement in the bag and called his supervisor, minutes later the year-old dog, later named Patrick in honor of St. Patrick’s Day, would have been crushed to death by a garbage compactor.
Hospital staff said it was one of the worst cases of abuse they’d ever seen.
GSVA set up a PayPal account for Patrick on March 17, 2011, that collected $30,000 from donors worldwide in three days for Patrick’s care. Thereafter the account was disabled and GSVS never asked for any other assistance with his care.
Dr. Thomas D. Scavelli and his wife Patricia Smillie-Scavelli who operate GSVS bonded with Patrick and the dog, having fully recovered, now lives with them under court order. They hope to adopt Patrick, now a healthy, happy 50 pounds, now that the animal cruelty case is settled.
The miracle of Patrick gained worldwide attention with people around the world donating to his care and recovery. Upon seeing the tremendous outpouring of support for Patrick and the publicity value, the City of Newark and AHS attorney Harry Levin to attempt to regain custody of the dog, reportedly to put him in a zoo for exhibit. AHS was accused of trying to profit from Patrick and the courts rebuffed their efforts.
The court squashed all of Levin’s arguments and gave temporary custody to the Savellis with whom Patrick has resided for the past two years.
See Event: Go Green For Patrick on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/events/287114328052020/