Charges have been laid against a woman believed to be the owner of a dog who was close to death from starvation when he was found inside a rubbish bag in a garbage chute.
On March 16, maintenance workers were removing trash from inside a chute at a 22-story, 550-unit apartment building in Newark, New Jersey when they noticed movement inside a bag that was destined for the trash compactor. When they opened it to find a dog who was extremely thin, cold and near death they contacted animal control.
"His eyelids were moving a little. But he was just lifeless — his body hung there when we picked him up," the Star Ledger quoted animal control officer Arthur Skinner as saying.
Skinner took the skeletal pit bull type dog to the Humane Society.
"The veterinary staff immediately put him on intravenous fluid," states the Associated Humane Societies/Popcorn Park Zoo website. "His temperature was so low that it did not even register on the thermometer. He was covered with heating pads and blankets. Society vet tech Gina DeSalvo held the pit bull in her arms -- she soothed him, gave him warmth, comfort and bits of food. From that moment on, he looked up with gratitude in his eyes to all of the staff."
He was then transferred to Garden State Veterinary Specialists, where 24-hour emergency care was provided. After he survived the night and into St. Patrick's Day he was named Patrick. He had a blood transfusion, was placed on antibiotics and pain medication, and was soon eating small bites of food.
Dr. Scavelli, at Garden State, said that if Patrick had not arrived when he did, he would have been dead within six to 12 hours.
"He’s the worst I’ve ever seen as far as starvation, skin and bones go," Katharine Palmer, an emergency critical care specialist at the animal hospital, told the Star Ledger. "The first couple days after he came in he wasn’t able to stand or bear weight he was so weak."
An ultrasound showed that Patrick had swallowed some foreign body. It has not prevented him from eating, drinking or defecating- and the issue will be explored when he is stronger.
Fox News reported that, according to Matthew Stanton, a spokesman for the New Jersey Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, on Friday, twenty eight-year-old Kisha Curtis was charged with two counts of abandonment and two counts of failure to provide proper sustenance to an animal.
Stanton said a conviction could result in up to six months in jail or a $1,000 fine and community service.
The New Jersey SPCA is trying to determine whether anyone else was involved in the abuse of the dog.
Associated Humane Societies/Popcorn Park Zoo accepts donations through the ResQ Fund to care for animals such as Patrick.
A Facebook page has also been set up for Patrick.