It's a dog abuse story so horrific it has captured the world's attention and kept numerous investigative agencies in two U.S. states on the case.
Now, authorities in Quincy, Mass. believe they have the man who abused "Puppy Doe," a two year old pit bull left for dead in a park and tortured so badly that she had to be euthanized due to her injuries.
During a news conference on Monday, Quincy Police Chief Paul Keenan announced the arrest of Radoslaw Artur Czerkawski, 32, a Polish immigrant living in New Britain, Conn.
Czerkawski was arrested last Wednesday in New Britain on a charge of misleading a police investigation. Keenan says that Czerkawski waived rendition and was taken back to Massachusetts on Monday to be arraigned Tuesday morning. The charges include misleading a police investigation, as well as 11 counts of animal cruelty, felonies, which carry a total of five years in prison, according to Keenan.
Czerkawski is being held on $500,000 bail.
As Pet360 reported last month, Puppy Doe was found in late August in a Quincy park, near Boston, severely emaciated and with multiple wounds including burns and cuts. Her tongue had been split in two, she had been severely beaten and her legs had also been dislocated.
The dog, estimated at 1-2 years old could barely walk. Veterinarians at Boston's Animal Rescue League deemed her suffering to be too great and she was euthanized. The veterinarian who performed the necropsy concluded the dog, dubbed "Puppy Doe," was tortured over a period of time and called the person who could do such a thing a "freak."
"The Quincy police as well as the Norfolk District Attorney's office have worked tirelessly on this case since its inception," Keenan told reporters at the press conference on Monday. "We took the matter very seriously. It was a grave concern to us. Our detectives have been working pretty much around the clock."
When the details of the case were made public by the Norfolk County District Attorney's office in mid-September, asking for the public's help in identifying the abuser, the Justice for Puppy Doe Facebook page was created. The page has over 60,000 fans. A total of $58,000 was raised and pledged by animal welfare organizations as reward money, as well as money to be used in the investigation of this case, as well as other animal abuse cases.
Puppy Doe also was identified as Kiya, the dog's former owner, Laura Hankins, said she gave her to a woman on Craigslist earlier this year. Kiya and Hankins were the victims of breed discrimination, as Hankins claimed that when her landlord found out Kiya was a pit bull, she demanded the family get rid of the dog or move. Hankins said she looked for months to no avail, for a place that would allow all of her dogs.
"I just want to know so bad why he did it. Why her, of all dogs? What did she ever do to him to make him want to hurt her so bad? She loved everybody," Hankins told the Boston Herald.
At the second press conference on Tuesday, Keenan said that Hankin's identification of Kiya led to the second owner, who again listed Kiya on Craigslist and that's when the dog allegedly ended up with Czerkawski. The information she provided detectives led them to conclude that Czerkawski had the dog for about four months. The abuse occurred over a period of a few weeks, Keenan says.
The Herald also reports that Czerkawski, whose visa expired in September, was the caregiver for an elderly woman who died of dementia on the day Puppy Doe was dumped and that he was also wanted in New Bedford, Conn. for the theft of checks from a church.
"When and why?," reporters asked. Keenan said, "Who has a motive for something like this? It probably is just a sick individual.
At that point, a dog in the audience barked, most likely in agreement.
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