Radoslaw Czerkawski tortured and beat the year-old female dog he got off Craigslist so brutally and viciously the animal could not be saved and was euthanized.
Tuesday, Czerkawski was sentenced to serve 8 to 10 years in prison after being convicted on 12 counts of animal cruelty in the vicious torture of the dog dubbed “Puppy Doe.” The case received national, indeed international attention in 2013 and it’s taken more than four years to bring Czerkawski to justice.
Already incarcerated for larceny, Czerkawski, 36, of Quincy, Mass., must also serve probation after he completes his sentence and is forbidden from ever owning – or coming near – a dog again.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Czerkawski Beat, Stabbed, & Starved the 1-Year-Old Female Pit Bull-Mix he Got for Free Off Craigslist
In the winter of 2013, a couple purchased the then-puppy for $200 on Craigslist, but soon their landlord forced them to get rid of the dog. They listed her again on Craigslist, but for free. A woman took the dog and kept the couple updated, but not for long.
On a hot August day in 2013, the white and brown dog, then around a year and a half old, was found in the street near a playground in Quincy barely alive with horrific injuries described by the vet who tried to save her as having been committed by a sadist.
The veterinarian, Dr. Martha Smith-Blackmore said at the time that whoever had done it was “a total freak.” The dog could not be saved and was euthanized and Smith-Blackmore said what had been done to the dog was akin to medieval torture: her tongue was carved, her body burned, her eyes stabbed, her bones broken, and even the dog’s limbs were ripped from their joints, called being ‘drawn’ from limb to limb. “It’s a sick mind that can do this to an animal.”
The Animal Rescue League (ARL) of Boston, the Quincy Police Department and then-Norfolk District Attorney Michael W. Morrissey asked for the public’s help in identifying the person responsible for a horrific and brutal case of animal torture.
“The injuries cataloged in the post-mortem examination are grotesque and indicate consistent starvation and abuse over an extended period of time,” Morrissey said at the time. “It is highly unlikely that this level of sadistic cruelty could be shown to one animal and not be part of a pattern involving other animals or perhaps vulnerable people. We need to find the person who did this and see what else they are doing.”
2. Called ‘Puppy Doe,’ Animal Rescue & Anti-Cruelty Groups, Animal Rights Advocates, Dog Lovers & Everyday People Globally Followed the Story
Dubbed ‘Puppy Doe,’ the dog’s original name was Kiya and she was immediately embraced by many who were at once incensed at the monster that could do such a thing, but moved too by the dog’s will to live; she became a champion for anti-cruelty groups and new laws.
A Change.org petition was created. And a Facebook page was born, ‘Justice for Puppy Doe’ which until this day has nearly 80,000 followers.
Puppy Doe’s story was everywhere in 2013: “Nationwide outrage,” one headline read, over the “gruesome abuse.”
Juno’s Place, an animal rescue and education center in Massachusetts helped to lead the Puppy Doe movement and never let go of the leash.
3. Czerkawski Was Arrested, Charged, Held Without Bail
In November of 2013, two months after Puppy Doe was found, police arrested Czerkawski, then 32, in a New Britain, Conn., motel. Investigators said they had the right man; they’d found the dog’s blood in Czerkawski’s Massachusetts apartment.
An illegal immigrant from Poland, authorities said, Czerkawski was in the U.S. on an expired tourist visa but somehow had landed a job as an aide for elderly dementia patients. On Nov. 21, 2013, he was indicted on 12 counts of animal cruelty and ordered held without bail.
The courtroom erupted.
4. Four Years After His Arrest, Czerkawski Was Tried, Convicted & Sentenced
The women from Juno’s Place have been at every court date and were in court Tuesday for the sentencing of Czerkawski.
Czerkawski’ was found guilty on Monday. He was sentenced today.
Prosecutors were asking for a term of 10 to 15 years in prison for his crimes, but Czerkawski’s defense attorney asked for leniency and suggested 4-5 years. His argument was proffered with a notice to the court that Czerkawski has received threats and was attacked in jail.
Juno’s Place posted that they had learned he was in fact attacked by a cellmate and had received medical treatment. But people reacted this way: “So sad this poor dog was abused like this, but glad the abuser has been sent to jail, hope he gets treated like he treated her.”
5. Czerkawski Was Already Locked Up For Stealing $130,000 From an Elderly Woman & Stealing From a Church
Czerkawski when arrested in Connecticut was also being looked at as a suspect in a church theft case in New Bedford in 2012, local reports said. Police said Czerkawski stole and cashed checks totally nearly $7,000 from St Lawrence the Martyr Church, “where he had stayed between January and April 2012 after telling the pastor there that he wanted to become a priest,” the Daily Mail reported in 2013
And in 2015, Czerkawski was charged, convicted and sentenced to serve 3 to 5 years in prison for stealing $130,000 from the 95-year-old woman with dementia he’d been a home aid for.
Czerkawski’s sentence for animal cruelty will be served after the previous cases jail time has been served.