- Associated Press - Monday, March 26, 2018

DEDHAM, Mass. (AP) - A Massachusetts man accused of abusing a dog so severely that it had to be euthanized was convicted Monday of animal cruelty charges nearly five years after the dog known as “Puppy Doe” was found abandoned near a playground.

Radoslaw Czerkawski, 37, was found guilty of torturing and abandoning the pit bull, but cleared of lying to police. Czerkawski, who is already in prison on two unrelated larceny convictions, will be sentenced Tuesday.

The case received widespread attention when the year-old pit bull mix was found in Quincy in August 2013 with skull, spine and rib fractures, a stab wound to the right eye and a split tongue. Veterinarians determined the dog was too badly hurt to save.

Czerkawski’s attorney acknowledged his client owned the dog but said it ran away and someone else was responsible for the abuse. The Patriot Ledger reports that his attorney suggested during the trial that the dog may have been hit by a car or attacked by another animal.

Czerkawski’s attorney didn’t immediately return a message left at his office Monday.

Norfolk District Attorney Michael Morrissey applauded the Quincy Policy Department for taking the case “very seriously from the onset.”

“Law enforcement at every level needs to treat animal cruelty cases as the serious crimes that they are,” he said in a statement.

The animal cruelty charge for Czerkawski carries up to five years behind bars. The state has stiffened the penalties in recent years, but he will be sentenced according to law in 2013.

The guilty verdict came after the judge dismissed two jurors and replaced them with alternates.

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