NEWARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) – A 29-year-old woman who admitted tying a pit bull to a railing and leaving it for a week is not going to prison.
A judge on Thursday sentenced Kisha Curtis to 18 months probation.
A maintenance worker discovered the emaciated dog near death in a plastic bag at the bottom of a trash chute at Curtis’ apartment building in Newark in 2011.
The pup was rushed to the trauma unit at the Garden State Veterinary Specialists. It was determined the dog was severely anemic and malnourished.
The dog — nicknamed Patrick because he was found the day before St. Patrick’s Day — attracted hundreds of online followers around the world. “The Patrick Miracle” has more than 271,000 likes on Facebook.
Curtis expressed remorse after her sentencing Thursday.
“I’m greatly embarrassed for leaving Patrick and abandoning him,” Curtis said. “I’m going to make moves in life to make sure I don’t make the same mistakes.”
Curtis pleaded guilty last month to fourth-degree animal cruelty on the eve of her trial.
Curtis was not accused of placing the dog in the chute, but prosecutors said she was responsible for abandoning and starving the dog, resulting in his “torment and torture.”
Judge Joseph Cassini said he received hundreds of letters urging him to throw the book at Curtis, but he opted for probation and called for perspective.
“On a scale of one to 10, I would say the murdering of a Newark police officer is at the top of the scale,” Cassini said. “I would say her case, from where I sit, is around a three or a four.”
The judge pointed out the dog survived and the case led to tougher penalties for animal cruelty.
Patrick supporters thought the sentence was too light.
“We’re here for an animal, an abused animal. We were just shocked,” one woman said.
“I’m angry and I had tears in my eyes in that courtroom,” one man said.
Cassini said Curtis is unlikely to do the same thing again.
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