UPDATED, AUG. 15, 2 P.M.: Irvine veterinary technician Kimberly Nizato was sentenced today in Norwalk to 30 days in Los Angeles County Jail, three years of probation and an order to pay restitution for leaving Courage the German shepherd to die.
The dog, who weighed only 37 pounds when he was turned over to Orange County animal
rescuers, earned the name for eating dirt and rocks to survive while being tied to a Bellflower tree for at least five days in the spring of 2010.
A shepherd Courage's age should have weighed 75-80 lbs.,
experts said at the time.
Nizato was convicted of misdemeanor animal cruelty, and two days of her jail sentence were suspended. Her lawyer says she sold her Bellflower house and moved out of the area, but that he's working on an arrangement that will allow her to serve her probation.
She has already been ordered to pay $2,034 in restitution and court fees, but the amount could get firmed up at a Nov. 8 hearing. The judge also banned Nizato from owning a pet and ordered her to undergo counseling.
Kimberly Nizato, 26, of Bellflower, has been arrested. She is a part-time veterinary technician in Irvine.
An anonymous donor had put up $1,000 to find the dickwad who did what he or she did to the dog. (How about we tie him or her to a tree for five weeks, force feeding a diet of dirt and rocks and forbidding any water?)
Courage was brought in to German Shepherd Rescue of Orange County by a woman who did not want to go into who possibly mistreated the dog.
He weighed only 37 pounds when he arrived, when a healthy male his age should be 75-80 pounds.
With the help of the volunteers and doctors at Community Veterinary Clinic in Garden Grove, Courage is making a slow recovery. He can't walk or hold his head up because he has no muscle,
according to veterinarians, who found dirt and rocks in his intestines.
He has received blood transfusions, plasma
transfusions, electrolyte and vitamin infusions, IVs and a variety of
tests to determine organ functionality. The vets expect him to survive.
Matt Coker has been engaging, enraging and entertaining readers of newspapers, magazines and websites for decades. He spent the first 13 years of his career in journalism at daily newspapers before "graduating” to OC Weekly in 1995 as the paper’s first calendar editor. He went on to be managing editor, executive editor and is now senior staff writer.