Radoslaw Czerkawski was sentenced last week in Massachusetts almost five years after abusing the puppy so badly she had to be humanely put to sleep. The dog, who hit the headlines at the time under the name 'Puppy Doe', was found abandoned in a park starving with a stab wound to the eye, multiple fractures to her skull and spine and a split tongue. The one year old mixed pit bull garnered support from all corners of the world online, and a Facebook page was set up to bring her abuser to justice. Czerkawski, 37, was already in prison at the time of her discovery for unrelated convictions after being sentenced to three to five years in 2015 for stealing more than a hundred thousand dollars from an elderly woman he was caring for.
Czerkawski was eventually convicted of 12 counts of animal cruelty for his treatment of Puppy Doe and sentenced to 8 to 10 years of jail time. As well as his custodial sentence, he was given two years' probation and told he will be banned from owning or coming into contact with any animals for life. Prosecutors had initially wanted the sentence to be much longer, campaigning for a 15 year jail term for the animal cruelty charges, but his defence team argued for this to be under five so the final sentence was decides somewhere between the two. He was quickly found guilty of torturing and abandoning the dog, named Kiya when she lived with him, but he was cleared of the charge of lying to police about it. His defence team told the court that he had been receiving death threats while in prison, and had been attacked by other prisoners.
Animal Rescue League President Mary Nee has described the court's decision was 'historic' and is hopeful that it will be the start of a new campaign of stronger animal welfare laws: "Today was a historic day for animal welfare in Massachusetts. 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 more work to do." Czerkawski is set to be deported to his native Poland after his sentence is complete.