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Patrick the pit bull: New Jersey woman pleads not guilty to charges relating to animal cruelty

Patrick the pit bull

NEWARK, N.J. — A New Jersey woman pleaded not guilty in court Friday to charges of starving and abandoning a 1-year-old pit bull that has since become an Internet celebrity.

The judge in the case judge warned animal advocates that he would not let emotion rule the case.

Kisha Curtis entered her plea through an attorney during a brief hearing in state Superior Court attended by several news outlets and some members of an advocacy group that is seeking stronger animal abuse laws. About 40 people demonstrated outside Essex County Veterans Courthouse in support of the dog, nicknamed Patrick because he was found the day before St. Patrick's Day.

Curtis didn't speak in court, but  Superior Court Judge William Cassini departed from protocol and addressed the notoriety the case has attracted.

"I know there has been quite an amount of emotion stirred by this event," he said. "But those emotions, from where I sit, don't trump the rule of law. My role is to ensure that fairness is achieved, not only for the defendant but for the state."

The dog was found at the bottom of a trash chute at Newark's Garden Spires apartment complex on March 16, emaciated and too weak to stand or walk. Since then, he has begun recovering slowly at an animal hospital and has been the subject of thousands of supportive letters and emails. A Facebook page, "Prayers For Patrick," had more than 4,500 "likes" Friday afternoon.

Kisha Curtis "We would like to see tougher laws in New Jersey," Marlo Colson, one of the organizers of the Facebook page, said outside the courthouse. "Massachusetts made animal abuse a felony in 2004, and we'd like to see New Jersey follow suit."

Curtis was charged in March with two fourth-degree offenses for "tormenting and torturing" an animal that carry an 18-month maximum jail sentence, and two disorderly persons offenses that each carry a sentence up to six months. The Essex County Prosecutor's Office hasn't presented the case to a grand jury for a possible indictment but is expected to do so once additional witnesses are interviewed.

"At this juncture, the case is going to the grand jury," Chief Assistant Prosecutor Thomas Fennelly said.

The criminal case has given rise to a custody battle over the dog involving the Associated Humane Societies, the city of Newark and Garden State Veterinary Specialists in Tinton Falls, where Patrick is being treated. AHS filed a motion this week claiming it has legal rights to the dog. Cassini on Friday gave the other parties 10 days to file a response, and a hearing is scheduled for early June.

The city wants the court to authorize the animal hospital to provide Patrick with a foster home until the criminal case is resolved.

Puppy nearly sent through the mail has a new home
Dog owner can't forgive Michael Vick (Bill Plaschke column)

-- David Porter, Associated Press

Top photo: Patrick walks near piles of gifts donated to him as he recovers at Garden State Veterinary Specialists in Tinton Falls, N.J., on April 5. Credit: Mel Evans / Associated Press

Bottom photo: Kisha Curtis makes a court appearance via video in Essex County Court in Newark, N.J., on March 31. Credit: Jerry McCrea / Associated Press

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Thank you all of the good ppl who came out to support PATRICK: no emotions do not trump the rule of law , however, what they do is to show animal torture is not tolerated in today's society. More progressive states now are considering a Special Task Force to investigate these crimes and a national animal abuse registry for cross-referrencing by child welfare agencies, women's shelters, courts, law enforcement, social work, psychiatry and other disciplines.
The Facts: will speak for themselves in this case if investigated thoroughly. This type of severe muscle wasting involving internal organs and cardiac muscle takes severe starvation over a lengthy period of time- hair removed from the stomach is enough evidence that the dog was tortured. Hopefully, law enforcement would have lifted some prints from the garbage bag.

I hope the Judge will also consider not only the fairness for the Human Defendant and the State but also for the other Defendant "the dog" who does not have an attorney but should have one to plead his case. Animal Cruelty goes hand in hand with Human Cruelty because these types of people have been proven to be a danger to our society that means me and you and all who may come in contact with these types. This person should be schooled in lessons on how to treat others. They know right from wrong. They should act like decent Human Beings because they know they do not want this treatment so they know not to impose this on any animal. they must suffer in silence and suffer the same Hunger Pains and fear as humans and this peron knew it. SHE SHOULD BE PUNISHED TO THE FULL EXTENT OF THE LAW AND ON PROBATION FOR A LONG LONG TIME SHE NEEDS TO BE WATCHED AND SIGN UP JUST THE SAME AS A SEX OFFENDER SO WE WILL KNOW WHERE THESE KIND ARE AT ALL TIMES AND THE STATE KNOW ALSO

My feeling on this matter is simple,,We as a race should not allow anyone to do this kind of harm apone another living createre,,,Its a crime that we as a race would allow this person that commited this crime to not get the MAX Sentence,,,,,And not that I can but I will say I know in my heart that I speak for a hole lot of people,,,

The Patrick Miracle page has over 100k people supporting Patrick and those who take care of him.

Its kind of obvious "emotion" is stirred up, its because the "VISUAL EVIDENCE" is what causes the "emotion" lets remember:
“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated” Mahatma Gandhi

These people that mistreat animals are criminals . The only way they might (and that is a really big MIGHT) is if they are treated the same way that they treated that animal. But that is not going to happen because she is allegedly a human being (BIG ??? on that) , but at least she should get the maximum penalty for the criminal act that she committed.

How we choose to recognize the least of those who suffer our actions is always a reflection of what kind of a society we truly are. It also limits what we can hope to become.

The Patrick Miracle, the original site that spawned other Patrick Facebook sites, has over 100,000 members! Animal lovers have finally discovered the power of the Internet. People like Kisha Curtis cannot escape justice any longer. Curtis is a woman who thinks that tying a dog up to a fire door and leaving him to starve an die of thirst is not animal abuse.

Our compassion and understanding of how we treat our pets must be reflected in our laws or we can not hope to reflect decency. To set an example of anything less is inhumane. Not to mention refect very poorly on us as a people and limit what our growth as a community and a civilization.

We see these write ups all over the country for Patrick. Thank you. But I wonder why no mention of the main and largest Patrick FB site? The Patrick Miracle. Has over 104,000 members.

Emotion rule the case? Emotion anything in this case? All you need judge are the facts to convict, how hard is that? Fact, she starved the dog, fact, she threw him down a garbage chute IN a garbage sack, fact, GUILTY, fact, needs to pay for crime. Open and shut case.

Who ever the judge may be, it's not just emotion involved here, it's just plan wrong and evil what she did. She is just a mouth piece telling lies.

I hope she is given the maximum penalty for her actions. What a sick human being..

The Ten Commandments from a Pet's Point of View is wonderful and everyone who has a pet or is considering getting one should read and post on their refrigerator so they're reminded of it daily. I wonder if the owner who starved 1 year-old Patrick ever thought of the animal when she opened the refrigerator door to get herself some food. Ethic Soup has a good post on the commandments and church blessing for pets:



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