Plea deal possible for New Jersey woman charged with two counts of tormenting and torturing a living creature and two counts of abandonment.
Newark, NJ — 28 year old Kisha Curtis of Newark, New Jersey was charged with four counts of animal cruelty (two counts of tormenting and torturing a living creature and two counts of abandonment) in March of 2011 after a maintenance worker discovered Patrick, an emaciated Pit Bull in a garbage bag after bring thrown down the trash chute of a 22-story apartment building.
On July 9, 2012, Curtis appeared in court for the fifth time since Patrick was discovered, after missing her scheduled appearance on May 29. Curtis reported to her attorneys ‘she thought she didn’t have to appear in court’ on May 29 since she had received a waiver from her last court hearing because she was having a baby, and incorrectly believed the waiver still applied.
After Curtis was taken into police custody in 2011, Frank Saracino, public information officer for the New Jersey SPCA reported that she admitted to starving the animal but denied throwing him down the chute.
However, in her most recent court appearance she claimed the exact opposite: “[Curtis] admitted to leaving the dog leashed in the hallway of her high-rise building but denies any involvement or charges that she starved, tortured, or harmed him.”
When Patrick was found, he had been starved for so long he was no longer able to walk and his skin had sunk into the cavity of his hip bones and spine. The animal control officer who responded to the call reported to The Star-Ledger “His eyelids were moving a little. But he was just lifeless — his body hung there when we picked him up.”
Patrick was then taken to Garden State Veterinary Specialists, where he weighed in at barely 19 pounds. “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. Since then Patrick has made a remarkable recovery, and is temporarily staying in the home of Patricia Smillie-Scavelli, administrator of the Tinton Falls veterinary facility. Patrick is now more than 50 pounds and is”really comfortable with people. He’s not fearful like before,” Smillie-Scavelli reported.
Originally, Curtis rejected a former offer by the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office: up to 18 months in prison, a $5,000 fine, and 30 days community service. She is now applying for a pre-trial intervention which, if granted, would eventually wipe the criminal charge from her record; her next scheduled court appearance is July 31.