NEWARK - A Newark woman accused of dropping her 1-year-old pit bull down a garbage chute pleaded not guilty to animal abuse charges today.

Kisha Curtis, 27, appeared via video feed at her arraignment today. The judge set her bail at $10,000 bond or $1,000 cash.

The Essex County Prosecutors Office says Curtis left the dog tied up to a railing in her apartment while she was out of the state for more than a week. A janitor says he later found the dog at the bottom of a trash chute.

Curtis' mother says her daughter left the dog behind when she moved out of state believing someone else would take it in, but did not otherwise hurt the animal.

Curtis is charged with four counts, including animal torture and abandonment. However, prosecutors say by law, they can only charge Curtis with crimes in the fourth degree. Prosecutors have called on state lawmakers to toughen animal cruelty laws. Prosecutors say it is likely Curtis will get probation if found guilty.

Animal rescuers have named the dog Patrick. He is receiving treatment at an animal hospital in Tinton Falls.

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