Patrick, 'miracle' pit bull who survived fall down garbage chute, is on the road to recovery
A New Jersey pit bull named Patrick, starved and subjected to horrific abuse before his rescue last month, is being called a "miracle dog" after he survived being placed in a trash bag and thrown down the garbage chute of a Newark apartment building.
A maintenance worker removing the garbage to put it in a trash compactor noticed a bag moving slightly, opened it and discovered the emaciated dog inside. Patrick -- so named when he survived through the night into St. Patrick's Day after being found in the garbage chute March 16 -- was rushed to the local Associated Humane Societies shelter, where "veterinary staff immediately put him on intravenous fluid," according to a post on the society's website. "His temperature was so low that it did not even register on the thermometer. He was covered with heating pads and blankets. Society vet tech Gina DeSalvo held the pit bull in her arms -- she soothed him, gave him warmth, comfort and bits of food. From that moment on, he looked up with gratitude in his eyes to all of the staff."
Patrick was soon moved to a 24-hour emergency veterinary hospital, where he received a blood transfusion and other treatment. His condition is reportedly improving. Kisha Curtis, 27, the woman identified as his owner at the time of his abuse, has been charged with two counts of tormenting and torturing a living creature by failing to provide sustenance and two counts of abandonment, according to the New Jersey Star-Ledger. She has pleaded not guilty to the cruelty charges and maintains she didn't throw Patrick down the garbage chute, but has reportedly admitted that she failed to provide proper care for the year-old dog, New Jersey Newsroom reported.
"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," acting Essex County Prosecutor Carolyn A. Murray said in a statement about the charges against Curtis, perhaps indicating that another person may have thrown the dog in the garbage chute.
Patrick's story has gained wide attention; he's pictured above with flowers sent by an admirer from Alaska, and animal lovers from around the world have donated online toward his care. A post on the Garden State Veterinary Specialists website notes that the organization, which is providing the dog's treatment, has "discontinued accepting donations directly to our hospital for Patrick. Patrick's care has been assured through the generosity of animal lovers everywhere." The facility asks those wishing to help Patrick to instead make a donation in his name to their local animal care agency.
One animal lover, Rachel Wolf, launched a website called PatricksLaw.com, to urge supporters to "encourage and pressure your elected officials to support Patrick's Law™, so all animal abuse will be treated as a felony with lengthy prison terms and hefty fines imposed as punishment." A Facebook page for Patrick had more than 80,000 fans as of Wednesday afternoon.
News about Patrick's abuse even led Newark's mayor, Cory Booker, to call on the public to help raise funds for the construction of a new animal shelter in the city, to be called "Patrick's Place." (See his call to action, originally posted on his YouTube channel and fundraising page, below.)
Patrick has made large improvements -- he's gaining weight, wags his tail and enjoys visits with his human friends -- but still has a long road to full recovery. He will probably be put up for adoption at some point in the future. You can follow his progress on the Associated Humane Societies' website, which posts regular updates, photos and videos.
Curtis could face up to 18 months in prison, a $3,000 fine and community service if convicted on all charges, according to the Star-Ledger.
-- Lindsay Barnett
Photos: Patrick is shown at the Garden State Veterinary Specialists facility in Tinton Falls, N.J., on April 5. Credit: Mel Evans / Associated Press