Veterinary kennel assistant sentenced for animal cruelty

This former veterinary team member nearly starved her pet to death.
Nov 01, 2011
By staff

As a veterinary team member, you know the importance of treating every animal with the utmost respect and care. Unfortunately, not every employee follows the rules. Kimberly Nizato, a former kennel assistant for the Southern California Veterinary Specialty Hospital in Irvine, Calif., was recently sentenced to 30 days in jail for nearly starving her German shepherd to death.

Back in April 2010, police officers took Nizato into custody because she apparently left the German shepherd in an airport carrier inside her garage—without food or water—for five weeks. The emaciated dog weighed 37 pounds, and veterinarians reported that he only had hair, dirt, and rocks in his stomach. (There was no evidence of food.)

Nizato pleaded no contest to a felony charge of animal cruelty, according to a Los Angeles newscast. However, the California judge reduced the charge to a misdemeanor and ordered that Nizato pay for the dog's medical expenses. News of the misdemeanor charge did not sit well with some animal rights groups and several of the spectators who attended the sentencing. Many of them were hoping for a felony conviction, which would put Nizato in prison for three years—instead of the 30-day sentence she received.

The most important news about this case: Bosco, the abused dog, was nursed back to health at the German Shepherd Rescue of Orange County, and he was renamed Courage. A family recently adopted Courage, and he's in good health.