With all of the injustice inflicted upon animals these days, the story of “Puppy Doe” will be remembered as a bittersweet yet important victory. Tragic though her story is, justice was served in the end.
The abused female pit bull-mix became widely known after she was found abandoned in a playground in Quincy, Massachusetts, in August of 2013.
JUST IN: Massachusetts jury convicts "Puppy Doe" owner who tortured dog so severely it had to be euthanized.
The puppy was found starving, and she had been so badly abused that she had to be euthanized. Among her injuries, she had a fractured skull and spine, a split tongue, and a horrific stab wound to her eye—truly a horrific case of animal cruelty.
The dog’s former owner, then-37-year-old Polish Radoslaw Czerkawski, who was visiting on a student visa, was charged with 12 counts of animal abuse. Czerkawski had purchased the puppy, named Kiya, on Craigslist in 2013.
The defendant’s attorney said that Czerkawski owned the dog but that she had run away, and somebody else was the one responsible for the abuse.
Nevertheless, on March 28, 2018, the Polish national was convicted of all 12 counts, including torturing and abandoning an animal, but was cleared of lying to police and intimidating a court witness.
He was sentenced to 8 to 10 years prison time and 2 years of probation. The state had asked for Czerkawski to receive 10 to 15 years. The defense attorney had requested 4-and-a-half to 5 years, adding that he has received threats and was attacked in jail.
He is also prohibited from owning or coming into contact with other animals, and is banned from volunteering at animal shelters.
After serving his sentence, immigration officers will then deport him back to Poland.
— WBZ | CBS Boston News (@wbz) March 27, 2018
Czerkawski had been already serving a 3- to 5-year unrelated sentence for stealing $130,000 from an elderly woman whom he was caring for at the time.
Meanwhile, animal rights activists celebrated the momentous ruling as a historic precedent for the protection of animals from cruelty. Hugs were exchanged among visitors in the courtroom, and passionate tears of joy were shed by animal advocates immediately after the ruling.
“Today was a historic day for animal welfare in Massachusetts,” said Mary Nee, president of Animal Rescue League of Boston. “With the conviction and sentencing of Radoslaw Czerkawski, it has been demonstrated that people who commit animal cruelty, and in this case extreme cruelty, will be held accountable. Ironically Puppy Doe’s short and tragic life was the impetus for stronger laws protecting all animals in the Commonwealth—and there’s still work to do.”
Meanwhile, the story garnered plenty of attention online. One Facebook user said, “She is definitely NOT forgotten!! My heart breaks for her every time I see her name or her case. I’m so sorry precious Kiya that you suffered so badly …”
— WCVB-TV Boston (@WCVB) March 27, 2018