Kisha Curtis, the Newark, New Jersey woman accused of abusing and abandoning the 1-year-old Pit Bull named Patrick, appeared for the first time in Superior Court Friday morning pleading not guilty to several animal cruelty counts.
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 was dumped down a Newark, New Jersey apartment building’s trash chute in mid-March.
Patrick, so named because he was found the day after St. Patrick’s Day, has since made a miraculous recovery and continues to improve at Garden State Veterinary Specialists in Tinton Falls, New Jersey.
“He’s doing really well,” said Patricia Smillie-Scavelli, hospital administrator of Garden State Veterinary Specialists.
“He’s a people dog.”
Judge Joseph Cassini III set June 2 as the date when he would decide where Patrick would ultimately be placed.
Meanwhile, nearly 100 protesters from two loosely organized animal-advocate groups, gathered near the courthouse to call attention to what they said were the state’s lax laws against animal abuse in New Jersey .
One of those animal-rights advocates, Gerry Leighton, of Flanders, New Jersey, said Patrick’s plight was partly the result of lax state laws against animal cruelty.
“They’re not trash,” Leighton aid.
“They’re helpless,” she said. “They depend on us for their well-being.”