Update on Courage, the Starved Dog: Vet Tech — “Black Sheep of my Family” — Arrested

An arrest has been made in the case of the German Shepherd left with no food or water for five weeks. The suspect? A 26-year-old...

Maria Goodavage  |  Apr 16th 2010


Kimberly Nizato's MySpace home page photo

An arrest has been made in the case of the German Shepherd left with no food or water for five weeks. The suspect? A 26-year-old veterinary technician.

Yes, you read that right. A woman whose career is supposed to be devoted to helping animals appears to be behind the starvation that put Courage within hours of death.

The suspect, Kimberly Nizato, of Bellflower, Calif., was recently let go from her job at a veterinary hospital. But she was still receiving pay because staff were concerned about her child’s welfare, according to an excellent article at Examiner.com. No reason was given for her termination. (I imagine child welfare authorities are checking into the condition of her child at this point.)

Nizato had nothing to say in her defense, according to the article, but she did say she is “embarrassed” by her dog’s condition. She has apparently had him since he was a puppy.

A Dogster dog blog reader left a comment here a few hours after I posted this story. It led me to Nizato’s MySpace page. (Thank you, Li.) (Update 2 days after I posted this info: The page appears to have been removed. She probably was not getting a lot of fan mail there…) On it, she describes herself as “the black sheep of my family…I’m just a random girl who does random things… I’m just a kick back type of person and i take things for what it is.”

Look at the photos below for an example of how she was apparently taking “things for what it is.”

Courage was at death's door when he was rescued last week (Photo: German Shepherd Rescue of Orange County)

Her photo pages show several picture of her with her daughter. The little girl appears happy, healthy, and affectionate with her mom. I couldn’t find any photos of her dog. She last logged in April 13. The last mood she posted: “Drained.” It’s likely she was cornered by animal authorities, who were working with law enforcement and waiting for the right time to make the arrest.

Bail has been set at $50,000.

The good news is that Courage is now in a foster home, and is slowly gaining weight, and even trying to stand and play. Veterinarians are hopeful that he doesn’t have long-term organ damage from the extreme malnutrition he endured.

We’ll keep you posted on this tragic tale that gets more bizarre by the day.