QUINCY — After two months of intensive investigative work, the man accused of torturing a pit bull faced multiple charges in Quincy District Court.
Radoslaw Artur Czerkawski, 32, was arraigned Tuesday on 11 counts of animal cruelty and a charge of misleading a police investigation. The Polish immigrant, whose visa expired last month, pleaded not guilty to all the charges and bail was set at $500,000. He is due back in court Nov. 21.
“This matter is still an active and ongoing investigation,” Norfolk District Attorney Michael Morrissey said at a press conference after the arraignment. “We will probably be proceeding through the grand jury process as well.”
Quincy officials characterized the day as a success for local law enforcement, which has been investigating the case since the severely abused and malnourished dog was found near a Whitwell Street playground on Aug. 31.
The animal was so badly injured that it could barely walk and had to be euthanized. According to officials with the Animal Rescue League of Boston, which performed a necropsy, the injuries point to sadistic, prolonged, and intentional abuse. The district attorney went public with information on Sept. 19, and police assigned two detectives to the case.
According to a police report, police soon received a phone call from a woman who said she believed she used to own the dog. The dog, named “Kiya,” had found a new home through Craigslist and had been given to a Worcester couple.
The couple had the dog for a month before the pit bull “nipped” at the couple’s other dog, the police report said. The dog was listed again on Craigslist on June 8, and sold within days. According to Assistant District Attorney Tracey Cusick, who spoke at the arraignment hearing, police in early October obtained the phone number of the man who adopted the dog, then traced the number to Czerkawski, who resided at 89 Whitwell St.
Czerkawski had been taking care of an elderly Polish woman who lived there, Cusick said.
When the woman passed away Aug. 31, Morrissey said, police investigated her death and determined there was no foul play. Later that day, the injured dog was found nearby.
On Sept. 24, police questioned people in the neighborhood, and Czerkawski allegedly lied and said he saw a group of boys and girls with a dog.
After phone records tied Czerkawski to the Whitwell Street address, police returned Oct. 20. Czerkawski had moved out at the end of September, but police reported finding red-brown spatter stains in a bathroom, and a red paw print on a closet door. Scratch marks were found in a doorframe.
Police said fur and blood samples found at the scene matched tissue samples taken from the abused dog.
After leaving Quincy, Cusick said, Czerkawski lived in a hotel in New Britain, Conn. He was arrested at the hotel a week ago and brought to Quincy Monday.
Czerkawski will be held on a $5 million surety as well as the $500,000 bail. Cusick said the suspect has no ties to Massachusetts or the United States, and has enough money to flee. Czerkawski was ordered to surrender his passport.
According to Cusick, the penalty for animal cruelty is up to five years per count. With so much evidence at the home and in a necropsy report, Cusick said, “the defendant is facing decades of incarceration.”
Czerkawski also is facing several outstanding warrants on accusations of stealing checks from a church in New Bedford, Quincy police said.
Jessica Bartlett can be reached at jessica.may.bartlett @gmail.com.