DEDHAM — A pink dog leash, collar and short white hairs were found covering a rental car and luggage linked to the man accused of torturing a pit bull puppy so brutally that she had to be euthanized in 2013, a Quincy detective testified Wednesday
Radoslaw Czerkawski, a 36-year-old Polish national who was living in the United States illegally, faces 12 counts of animal abuse and one of lying to investigators in the high-profile trial for abuse of the dog that was discovered bloodied and unable to walk in the middle of Carrolls Lane in Quincy’s Hospital Hill neighborhood on Aug. 31, 2013.
Quincy Police Detective William Montieth, who, along with three other officers, arrested Czerkawski at a hotel in New Britain, Connecticut, testified that Czerkawski's belongings were covered in dog hairs. A computer also found in his possession had a link to the Craigslist ad where Puppy Doe was put up for sale, according to earlier testimony.
Luggage, a roll of duct tape and a backpack found in the trunk of a car rented to Czerkawski were all found "covered in small hairs," Monteith said. Inside the backpack, detectives found the pink collar and leash.
Czerkawski has not denied owning the dog, that became known as Puppy Doe, but his lawyer said the dog ran away, calling Czerkawski innocent of the charges. Czerkawski bought the puppy on Craigslist in June 2013 from a couple in Worcester.
Throughout the trial, defense lawyer Larry Tipton has tried to sow doubt in prosecutors' assertion that Puppy Doe's numerous injuries were a result of abuse at Czerkawski's hands.
"In your report, you wrote intent cannot be determined by the necropsy exam," Tipton said during his cross-examination of forensic veterinarian Martha Smith-Blackmore, who performed the procedure on the animal. A necropsy is similar to an autopsy performed on humans after their death.
In her second day of testimony, Smith-Blackmore agreed her report did not determine intent, but said it does suggest it. Asking permission to read the preceding sentence she read, "starvation implies intent: the willful withholding of food."
The 1- or 2-year-old dog weighed barely 18 pounds — less than half the ideal body weight for a pit bull of her age.
Puppy Doe, named Kiya by her previous owners, had five fractures to her skull; seven blunt-force injuries to her spine; broken ribs; a bruised lung; broken femur; dislocated shoulder; cuts on her eyes and a split tongue.
Pressing Smith-Blackmore, Tipton asked if soft tissue and bone injuries could happen from motor-vehicle accidents or dog fights. She said they could.
Smith-Blackmore testified Puppy Doe was likely unable to walk for some time — she had long nails and an odor of feces and urine was noticeable days after her death when she arrived on Smith-Blackmore's examination table, yet she said she found no evidence of a stench or pet stains when visiting Czerkawski's address.
"Is it fair to say, Dr. Smith-Blackmore, that you did not report to anyone the strong smell of urine while you were there at 89 Whitwell St.; that you did not point out urine stains on floor; that you did not point out feces stains on the floor?" Tipton asked.
Czerkawski is already serving sentences totaling 6 to 10 years for stealing from a 95-year-old Quincy woman for whom he was a live-in caregiver, and then from a church in New Bedford. He is due to be released from prison in 2021 but could seek parole as early as next spring.
Jury selection in the case was last Tuesday and Wednesday and testimony began Thursday. Norfolk County Superior Court was closed Tuesday when a blizzard struck the region, and massive snowfall delayed court proceedings Wednesday morning, but Judge Beverly Cannone said the trial was still on track to finish within its three-week timeline.