While many stories of animal neglect and abuse end with amazing rescue and adoption stories, it’s important to remember those dogs that never recovered from their terrible treatment at the hands of cruel owners. Their deaths are tragic, but their memories can live on and help ensure that future abuse is put to a stop.
That’s the incredible story of “Puppy Doe,” a dog from Quincy, Massachusetts, that was tortured so badly that upon rescue, the only option was to euthanize it to spare it further agony. But the story didn’t end there; it ultimately helped bring about a huge movement of Massachusetts citizens in favor of animal welfare and even changed the state’s animal cruelty laws.
Puppy Doe Update: The next court date has been continued to December 20. If we receive any other news before then we…
According to the documentary Puppy Doe, the dog was a pit bull mix put up for adoption via Craigslist in 2013 with the caption: “free to a good home.” Unfortunately, the ease of adoption led to Puppy Doe being “shuffled from home to home,” according to the documentary, until finally the dog ended up with a man who can only be described as a monster.
When Puppy Doe was discovered in a playground in Quincy, Massachusetts, on Aug. 31, 2013, the dog was in a truly appalling state. Dr. Maria Smith-Blackmore, the then-vice-president of Animal Welfare at the Animal Rescue League, described what had been done to the dog to WBZ in Boston.
“Splitting her tongue, burning her nose, stabbing her eye, it’s the totality of the types of injuries. Not only was she beaten she was stabbed she was burned—it’s all kinds of injures. It’s a sick mind that can do this to an animal.”
JUST IN: Massachusetts jury convicts "Puppy Doe" owner who tortured dog so severely it had to be euthanized.
While vets estimated that Puppy Doe was only between a year and two years old at the time she was rescued, it appeared that she had suffered injuries over a regular period of time. According to the Boston Globe, when Puppy Doe was found, “veterinarians said the dog weighed 18.2 pounds, compared with a normal weight of 40 pounds for a dog of that age.”
At the time, the Norfolk district attorney, Michael Morrissey, warned that the abuser who had inflicted so much harm on an innocent dog would certainly target people.
“It is highly unlikely that this level of sadistic cruelty could be shown to one animal and not be part of a pattern involving other animals or perhaps vulnerable people,” Morrissey said in a statement quoted by Boston.com.
Sadly, Puppy Doe’s injuries were so bad, especially the stab wounds she had received in the eye, the tongue, and her sides, that vets with the Animal Rescue League felt she wouldn’t be able to go on living and had her put to sleep.
— WIS News 10 (@wis10) March 27, 2018
It turned out that Morrissey was exactly right about the kind of person who would do such a thing to a harmless dog. The abuser, Radoslaw Czerkawski, a 38-year-old immigrant from Poland, had bought Puppy Doe off Craigslist in June 2013 according to police cited by Patch.
Czerkawski’s lame defense was that he had lost Puppy Doe and the horrific injuries were the responsibility of someone who had captured her, but police found blood stains, paw prints, and scratch marks in the house where he lived, according to Boston.com.
But Czerkawski had committed numerous other crimes, including stealing $135,000 from an elderly woman he had been supposed to take care of, as well as stealing money from a Polish church, according to Boston.com. He was convicted of these crimes and sentenced to 3–5 years.
In March 2018, after already having served time for his other crimes, Czerkawski was finally tried for the crimes against Puppy Doe and found guilty. The sentence was significant, 8–10 years, and shows other animal abusers that this kind of behavior won’t be taken lightly. As Animal Rescue League of Boston President Mary Nee said to Patch, “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.”
Unfortunately, this justice comes too late for Puppy Doe, but her death was not in vain as it led the State of Massachusetts to pass new legislation in 2014 increasing the fines and penalties for first-time and repeat animal abuse.