Justice for “Puppy Doe” may be at hand.
One tip, culled from hundreds, proved to be the key to finding the man who allegedly tortured, beat and starved the young pit bull whom the world has come to know as “Puppy Doe.”
On Oct. 29, authorities in Quincy, Mass., arraigned Radoslaw Czerkawski on 11 felony counts of animal cruelty in the case that caused nationwide outrage and sparked emotional vigils around the country.
Care2 readers will remember the story we ran on Oct. 13 about Kiya. She was the pit bull forced from her loving home by a landlord who wouldn’t allow her owner to keep that breed. Kiya’s owner found her a new home using Craigslist, but several weeks later that new owner got rid of her.
Somehow, undoubtedly via Craigslist, poor Kiya was adopted by someone who abused her sadistically, apparently for a very long time.
The Worst Case of Abuse Rescuers Had Ever Seen
Kiya was starved, stabbed, beaten, burned, had her tongue crudely split in two and — most heartbreaking of all – had her joints repeatedly pulled apart in a medieval-style form of torture. She was abandoned and left for dead near a park in Quincy, Mass. A passerby found her on Whitwell Street on Aug. 31 and summoned help.
Kiya’s rescuers said this case is the worst example of abuse they have ever seen. The veterinarian who examined her called her a “bag of beaten bones.” Kiya could barely walk and weighed only half of what she should have. Her injuries were so devastating that the only kind thing to do was euthanize her.
This crime broke people’s hearts, plain and simple. Kiya’s story immediately went viral when details were first released in mid-September 2013. She became known around the globe as “Puppy Doe.” A Facebook page devoted to her case rapidly got 65,000 “likes,” and kept growing. Calls for justice rang out across the country. The manhunt was on.
“The Quincy police as well as the Norfolk District Attorney’s office have worked tirelessly on this case since its inception,” said Quincy Police Chief Paul Keenan at a press conference on Oct. 28. “We took the matter very seriously. It was a grave concern to us. Our detectives have been working pretty much around the clock.”
Police got hundreds of tips in this case. They say they followed up on every one of them. One tip led them to New Britain, Conn., to a man named Radoslaw Artur Czerkawski, age 32.
“A Very Sad and Sick Thing”
Reports say a woman named Colleen Sullivan tipped off police that they needed to look at Czerkawski for this crime. In August he was reportedly living at 89 Whitwell Street, adjacent to the park where Puppy Doe was found.
“They kept their word that they were going to get him,” Sullivan told NECN. She said she’d had concerns about Czerkawski since last April, particularly as he was employed as a caregiver for an elderly woman. While police were canvassing the neighborhood and questioning residents, Sullivan realized what must have happened and alerted police.
Police haven’t revealed all the facts that convinced them that she was right, but reports say that they found Puppy Doe’s blood in the Whitwell Street residence where Czerkawski had been living. Police say they are fairly sure Czerkawski acted alone. They don’t know if he’s done this before.
“I pray that, yes, he pays the price for what he did but I hope that somewhere along the line he honestly gets some mental help from the professionals because it’s a very sad and sick thing that he did,” Sullivan said.
Who is This Man?
Czerkawski is not a U.S. citizen and speaks no English. He is from Hrubieszow, Poland, and is in the U.S. reportedly on an expired tourist visa. He was, of course, not a licensed or registered professional caregiver. Police think he had Kiya for about four months.
Police took Czerkawski into custody at a La Quinta motel in New Britain on Oct. 23. After he appeared in court on Oct. 24 on a charge of misleading a police investigation, Connecticut authorities handed him over to the Quincy police. They brought him back to Massachusetts to face felony animal cruelty charges, which can bring a jail term of five years.
Czerkawski was arraigned on Oct. 29. He pleaded not guilty, and bond was set at $500,000. Pit bull owners and Puppy Doe supporters showed up at the courthouse as word spread of the arrest. One held a sign that read “Potwor!” which means “monster” in Polish. A pretrial hearing was set for Nov. 21.
Czerkawski is also being eyed as a suspect in the theft of several checks from the St. Lawrence Martyr Church in New Bedford, Mass., in 2012. He reportedly told the church he wanted to be a pastor, and they allowed him to live there from January to April 2012. The church lost $6,000. The publicity over Puppy Doe enabled authorities to tie Czerkawski to this crime as well.
Let’s hope Massachusetts authorities got the right man. If they did, kudos to the sharp-eyed tipster who made this arrest possible. Well-deserved congratulations also go to the hard working law enforcement officials of Quincy, Mass., for keeping this difficult case alive and solving it.
If Czerkawski is guilty, may he experience the full extent of what the law can do to him. Whatever it is, it won’t be enough to avenge Puppy Doe. Not nearly enough.
Photo credit: Animal Rescue League of Boston