Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick has signed a bill into law toughening penalties for animal abuse.
The so-called Puppy Doe Bill, named after the dog that was euthanized after being found beaten and tortured in Quincy last year, would raise the the maximum prison time from five to seven years for a first-offense and up to 10 years for subsequent offenses. It also increases the possible fine for being found guilty of animal abuse from $2,000 to $5,000 for a first time offense, and up to $10,000 for repeat offenses.
The bill, whose formal name is Protecting Animal Welfare and Safety, or PAWS, was sponsored by Gloucester Republican Sen. Bruce Tarr.
Meanwhile, the man accused of brutally abusing Puppy Doe is set to face trial in February on charges that he stole from an elderly woman he was taking care of. Prosecutors say Radoslaw Czerkawski, who faces numerous animal cruelty charges, also stole $130,000 from an elderly woman. He's pleaded not guilty to all of the charges he faces.
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