Patrick the Miracle Dog's Abuser Gets Probation, Fine

Patrick was found, near death, after his owner tossed him down a garbage chute

The woman who pleaded guilty to animal cruelty for starving a pit bull, stuffing him in a trash bag and tossing him down a garbage chute in Newark, N.J., must serve probation and pay restitution to the animal care group that helped rescue the pup.

Kisha Curtis, 29, pleaded guilty last month to fourth-degree animal cruelty on the eve of her trial. She was charged in March 2011 after the dog, named Patrick, was found near death. 

At her sentencing Thursday, the judge said Curtis would be required to serve 18 months probation and forfeit her right to Patrick, who has not been in her care since he was found.

She'll also be required to pay nearly $2,000 to the New Jersey ASPCA, which gave the pup emergency care before he was moved to a veterinary hospital in Tinton Falls.

Curtis told NBC 4 New York her sentence was fair.

"I value the judge's decision, and I'm going to make moves in life to make sure that I don't make the same mistake again," she said. 

But animal advocates who packed the courtroom were disappointed by the sentence.

"I don't think it really was appropriate," said Christine Newtown.

In issuing the sentence, the judge said the dog survived and is now thriving, and the case led to tougher penalties for animal cruelty.

Prosecutors had previously said Curtis likely would avoid prison because she is a first offender. The judge said Thursday she was unlikely to commit such a crime again. 

The jowly pooch, called Patrick because he was rescued just before St. Patrick's Day, was nursed back to health at an animal hospital. He has since thrived in recovery, and his story has gained nationwide attention.

He has been living with a foster family, who told NBC 4 New York last year that he was "doing wonderful."

"He's just a normal dog," said Patricia Smillie-Scavelli.

Curtis said: "I'm happy he's healthy, I'm happy he's living, someone loves him." 

--Lori Bordonaro contributed to this story

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