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Group Wants “Miracle Dog” Patrick Moved to Rescue Zoo

Patrick, the horribly emaciated pit bull whose close-to-death body was found in a trash bag in a garbage chute of a 22-story apartment building in...

Maria Goodavage  |  May 6th 2011


Patrick, the horribly emaciated pit bull whose close-to-death body was found in a trash bag in a garbage chute of a 22-story apartment building in March, has been through enough during his one year of life. But now the very agency that helped rescue him is asking for him to be moved from the only good “home” he has ever known and into a “rescue zoo.”

The Associated Humane Societies claimed in a 40-page motion filed in New Jersey Superior Court this week that it has legal ownership of Patrick. According to the Associated Press, the AHS wants to take him from the veterinarian’s, where he has been recovering, and place him in the Popcorn Park Zoo. The Zoo is a refuge for farm, wild, and domestic animals who have had bad lives. People pay admission to see the 200 or so animals who call the zoo their home.*

The AHS claims Patrick is theirs to do with as they please.

“Patrick is no different than any other stray or abandoned picked up in Newark or any other city once he was rescued by AHS, he became the property of AHS,” the motion reads. “AHS did not surrender possession or control of Patrick, but merely turned the dog over to GSVS for treatment, with the expectation that Patrick would be returned to AHS once his medical condition improved and he was able to be released.”

AHS, which had garnered such good will after Patrick’s rescue, is fast losing it by this leg-lift maneuver. A rescue organization that refers to dogs as their “property” doesn’t inspire warm and fuzzy feelings. Moving a dog like this might be protocol for them, but Patrick isn’t your typical rescue: He looked like a corpse when he was brought in. Two months of round-the-clock care and nurturing have gotten him past the danger zone. And he has bonded with his caretakers — something he probably never had the chance to do in his short, tormented year of life. They say he’s a real “people dog.”

The AHS seems to be the only entity that wants Patrick pulled from the vet’s. Last month a judge decreed that Patrick should remain at Garden State Veterinary Specialists in Tinton Falls while the animal cruelty and abandonment case against his former owner proceeds. The AHS’s legal motion seeks to overturn this judgment.

The city of Newark is also against the AHS’s request to move Patrick to the Popcorn Park Zoo. Officials want him to remain at the vet’s until he is ready to be adopted to a forever home.

“It’s the city’s position that it is not in Patrick’s best interests for him to be turned over to Associated, and we have notified both Associated and the court of that fact,” a city official said in the AP story.

In other Patrick news, Kisha Curtis, Patrick’s former owner, made her first live appearance in court today and pleaded not guilty. This was expected. As the judge on the case told a packed courtroom, the wheels of justice turn slowly. I’ll keep you posted as the Curtis case evolves, but it may be a while.

Meanwhile, Dogsters, what do you think of the AHS move? Does anyone have personal experience with the Popcorn Park Zoo? It may be a great place, but who thinks life would be better for Patrick there than in a loving home?

*Clarification May 7: A couple of commenters have pointed out that the Popcorn Park Zoo has a separate area where animals are not on display, and where they are socialized, rehabbed, and sometimes adopted out. There is no mention of this on the Popcorn Park Zoo’s website. It doesn’t say anything about dogs. Categories include exotics, wildlife, farm animals, and birds. The zoo/sanctuary probably does tremendous good for many otherwise unadoptable animals. Its motto, “Where the wild things are,” doesn’t lend itself to thinking there are dogs there, but if dogs are not on display, that makes sense. I wanted to clarify this because it does make a difference in this story. However, the fact that it would mean a change for Patrick at a vulnerable time for him remains the same.