Girl’s walk on a leash in park prompts child abuse probe (VIDEO)
The video, which was captured during a mid-afternoon stroll in the park in the city of Yekaterinburg on July 20, shows a young child wearing protective mittens on her hands racing on all fours while being led on a leash like a dog by an adult lady.
A local resident, Aleksey Vlaskin, captured a short clip as he was passing by the pair, eventually sharing it online. In an interview with local news he described how he was following the odd couple for over ten minutes, during which the “child was running around on four limbs.”
Noting the girl’s skill in running around like an animal, Vlaskin said other kids were feeding the child something from their hands, most likely bread. He however said that all the kids were “obviously having fun,” and the girl herself was apparently “enjoying ” the situation, as she had been “running towards them like a dog.”
After the video was shared online by E1.RU, more alleged witnesses who saw disturbing couple materialized. One lady contacted the news outlet to tell them that the “dog walker” in the video was actually the child's grandmother, and that she met the family in a child development center. While calling the five-year-old girl “a little aggressive,” she described her grandmas “strange.”
The incident stirred controversy and debate because there were those who claimed it was normal for kids to play pretending to be, as long as they enjoyed it, and people who believed no decent parent would treat a kid like that in the middle of a street.
Local police meanwhile confirmed that the lady in the video is indeed the girl’s grandmother. Authorities also established the identity of the kid’s mother, who is, they say, currently on maternity leave.
During police questioning the grandma explained that she was “playing” with the girl, Interfax reported citing a regional police spokesperson, Valery Gorelykh.
Russian children’s rights ombudsman Pavel Astakhov however urged the local authorities to investigate the episode, which he called “ unacceptable and criminal.” A criminal investigation was launched with police checking whether neglect and possible child abuse charges should be pressed against the family.