(AP) — A Polish national convicted of abusing a dog so severely that it had to be euthanized was sentenced Tuesday in Massachusetts, nearly five years after the dog known as “Puppy Doe” was found abandoned.
Radoslaw Czerkawski, 37, was sentenced to 8 to 10 years in prison after he was convicted Monday of animal cruelty. He was also sentenced to two years’ probation and prohibited from owning or coming into contact with any animals. Czerkawski is also banned from volunteering at animal shelters.
Immigration officials say they will deport Czerkawski once he completes his sentences, and have lodged a detainer for him upon his release. The Norfolk County District Attorney Michael Morrissey said the probation would not delay any removal from the U.S.
He was found guilty Monday of torturing and abandoning Kiya the pit bull, but cleared of lying to police. Czerkawski is already in prison on two unrelated larceny convictions.
The case received widespread attention when the year-old pit bull mix was found on a playground in Quincy in August 2013 with skull, spine and rib fractures, a stab wound to the right eye and a split tongue.
The dog, named Kiya by her previous owners, was purchased by Czerkawski on Craigslist in the summer of 2013.
Czerkawski’s attorney acknowledged his client owned the dog but said it ran away and someone else was responsible for the abuse.
Animal Rescue League President Mary Nee called the decision historic and said it will create precedent for stronger animal welfare laws.
“Puppy Doe’s short and tragic life was the impetus for stronger laws and protecting all animals,” she said.