Animal Cruelty Charges Filed in Case of Brutalized New Jersey Pit Bull

A Newark woman has been charged with four counts of animal cruelty in the case of a 1-year-old pit bull found starved and barely alive inside an apartment building garbage chute, New Jersey officials tell

Kisha Curtis, 28, was charged Friday with two counts of abandonment and two counts of failure to provide proper sustenance to the animal, according to Matthew Stanton, a spokesman for the New Jersey Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

The pit bull, hailed by animal care workers as a "miracle dog," was discovered March 16 by maintenance workers inside a garbage chute at the Garden Spires apartment building -- a 550-unit complex in Newark notorious for drug trade and other crimes.

The dog was found so brutalized that his bones protruded from his fur and he had no body temperature. Animal care workers with the Associated Humane Societies/Popcorn Park called it one of the worst cases of cruelty they've ever seen.

Newark Animal Control rushed the dog to the 24-hour Garden State Veterinary Specialists in Tinton Falls, N.J., where he was given a blood transfusion, pumped with fluids and covered with heating blankets.

The dog was later named "Patrick" because he made it through the night and into St. Patrick's Day. Veterinarians said he would have died within 6 to 12 hours if he hadn't received medical care.

"It was a rebirth," said Karen Powell, an AHS spokeswoman.

Stanton told that Curtis, the alleged owner, faces two criminal counts and two civil counts, which he said could result in up to six months in jail or a $1,000 fine and community service if convicted.

"It all depends on the judge," he said. "She [Curtis] caused the animal to be in that condition. She indicated that she couldn't take care of him anymore."

Stanton said the woman denied throwing the dog into the chute at the 22-story apartment building. Curtis could not be reached for comment when contacted Saturday by

Stanton added that the investigation into the crime is ongoing. He said the NJSPCA is working to determine whether anyone else was involved in the abuse and disposal of the animal.

Patrick, meanwhile, is making a slow but steady recovery at the animal hospital. Veterinary staff said the dog is now standing and eating small amounts of food several times a day.

"He loves people," Powell said.

Authorities are urging anyone with information on the crime to call the NJSPCA tip line at 1-800-582-5979.

Graphic warning: Click on the AHS website for more information on Patrick