Kisha Curtis, the NJ woman who neglected Patrick the pit bull and then enclosed the starving dog inside a trash bag and threw him down the garbage chute, plead guilty to animal cruelty last month, and was finally sentenced yesterday.
Last month authorities estimated that Curtis, who faced a sentence of up to 18 months in prison, would probably not face jail time due to the fact that she has no prior convictions.
Their estimate turned out to be correct. Kisha Curtis was only sentenced to 18 months probation, and was charged with a $2,000 fine, to be paid to the NJ Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Curtis was also required to forfeit all rights to to Patrick.
Animal advocates, who have been following Patrick's case for years now, are disappointed with the sentence. However, if anything good did come out of this case, it's "Patrick's Law" (S1303), which was signed by NJ Governor Chris Christie last month. Patrick's Law makes animal neglect a fourth degree crime. If the animal passes away as a result of neglect, it becomes a third degree crime. In the past, failing to provide an animal with essential life necessities, such as food and water, was only a disorderly person's offense.
The new law also increases the fines for animal abuse from $1,000 to $3,000 for a first offense. Fines for a second offense will now range between $3,000 and $5,000. Overworking an animal is now considered a disorderly persons offense and comes with a fine from between $250 and $1,000, and up to 6 months jail time.
It seems that the custody battled over Patrick has also been settled. He will remain with Patricia Smillie-Scavelli, a employee of the veterinary clinic who worked hard to nurse Patrick back to health after his trying ordeal.
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