A Polish immigrant pleaded not guilty today to 11 counts of animal cruelty and intimidation of a witness in connection with the highly-publicized case of “Puppy Doe”.
Radoslaw Czerkawski, 32, was ordered held on $500,000 bail after prosecutors allege he purchased the tiny pit bull puppy on Craigslist, tortured her for several months, and subsequently left her to die in a Quincy park.
Police also say Czerkawski used his cell phone to call the dog's last owner, although they did not elaborate on Czerkawski’s reason for doing so.
Using a search warrant, police were able to examine Czerkawski’s second-floor apartment in Quincy, where they found blood splatter. The DNA of the blood splatter, police say, matched that taken from the necropsy of Puppy Doe two months ago.
Czerkawski, who maintains that he speaks no English, is in the United States on an expired work visa. Czerkawski lived in the home in Quincy acting as a caregiver for an elderly woman who died recently, apparently of natural causes. Although prosecutors said Czerkawski has $30,000 in his bank account, the suspect has requested a public defender.
The judge granted the $500,000 bail and set the next court date for Nov. 21.
A number of supporters of Puppy Doe gathered outside the Quincy District Courthouse, chanting "We will be back!"
Czerkawski is the lone suspect in the heartbreaking case. The puppy, believed to be about a year-and-a-half old, was left for dead at a Quincy Whitwell playground Aug. 31. Police allege the suspect starved, beat, and tortured the puppy for months, ripping apart her joints and slicing her tongue apart “like a serpent’s”. The veterinarian who performed the necropsy later said it was the worst case of animal cruelty she had ever seen.
Prosecutors have indicated that, if Czerkawski is convicted, they will request that he serve his sentences consecutively, not concurrently.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has not yet begun deportation proceedings for Czerkawski "but we continue to monitor the case," an agency spokesman said. ICE usually waits until local criminal charges against an illegal alien are completed before starting deportation proceedings.
Czerkawski is also facing charges for theft and forgery of over $6,000 worth of checks from a New Bedford church. He is expected to be arraigned on those charges later this week.