Massachusetts authorities say they have blood and paw print evidence linking a man arrested at a motel in New Britain last week to an animal abuse case in their state. 32-year-old Radoslaw Czerkaswski is held in lieu of half a million dollars bond.
Two months ago, the pit bull-mix known as “Puppy Doe” was found outside a Quincy, Massachusetts, playground. She had been starved and stabbed and had a fractured skull and split tongue. She was so badly injured that she was euthanized,
Czerkaswki , who is in the United States on an expired tourist visa, was arraigned with the help of a Polish interpreter. He’s charged with eleven counts of animal cruelty and one of misleading police.
In an unrelated case, New Bedford, Massachusetts police say Czerkaswki is wanted for stealing thousands of dollars from a local church last year.
QUINCY, Mass. (AP) _ A man accused of torturing and beating a dog that had to be euthanized after being found barely alive on a playground was ordered held Tuesday on $500,000 cash bail.
Radoslaw Czerkawski, a 32-year-old Polish man living in Massachusetts, pleaded not guilty in Quincy District Court to 11 counts of animal cruelty and one of misleading police.
The year-old female pit bull was nicknamed “Puppy Doe.” She was found Aug. 31 on a playground not far from a house where Czerkawski lived.
The case drew widespread attention after police appealed for public help in late September, and has led to calls for tougher penalties for animal abuse.
About two dozen people came to the courthouse Tuesday to show support for the abused dog.
Some cried when prosecutor Tracey Cusick detailed the dog’s injuries: several skull fractures in various stages of healing, spine and rib fractures, leg injuries, a stab wound to the right eye, two deep nose injuries and a split tongue.
Cusick said Czerkawski was traced through the dog’s previous owners, and DNA from blood stains linked the dog to the house. Czerkawski lived there as a paid caregiver for a 95-year-old Polish woman who died the day the dog was found.
District Attorney Michael Morrissey said the woman died from natural causes and there’s no evidence of foul play.
Judge Mark Coven ordered Czerkawski, arrested last week in New Britain, Conn., to surrender his passport. The prosecutor said he overstayed a tourist visa and would be a flight risk. Czernawski could face five years in prison for each animal abuse count.
Defense attorney John Gibbons asked that bail be reconsidered Nov. 21.
Lorelei Stathopolis of Salem told The Boston Globe it was difficult to hold back her emotions at Tuesday’s hearing. “We have to stand up and change the laws, and the only way to do it is to come here and make a stand,” she said.
Several people stood outside the courthouse with their own dogs. “She didn’t deserve what she got. We’re definitely here with our puppies to support her,” Kelly Duncan told Boston’s WBZ-AM radio.
A bill that would create a statewide registry of individuals convicted of animal abuse and impose tougher penalties is gaining support in the Legislature.
(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)