NEWARK - Keisha Curtis, charged in a notorious New Jersey animal cruelty case, was denied a request in court today to be allowed in a program for first-time offenders.

The program would have allowed Curtis, charged in the case of Patrick the dog, to avoid a criminal trial.

Patrick was found in the bottom of a trash chute at a Newark apartment building in March 2011.

The dog was starving and sick. He has since made a full recovery.

The case sparked outrage and calls for tougher laws against the mistreatment of pets.

Curtis returns to court on May 24 for a status hearing. A trial date is expected to be set at that hearing.