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19 Jul, 2010 15:09

Police find parasailing donkey

Police in Russia’s southern Krasnodar region have found the donkey that a leisure firm launched into the sky in a parasailing advertising stunt on July 15 and identified its owner.

The animal has been examined by vets, who say it is in a good state, RIA Novosti reports.

Footage showing the terrified animal being launched into the sky spread around the world, prompting the anger of animal rights activists.

Officials have launched an animal cruelty probe into the incident.

An Interior Ministry spokesman told reporters on Monday that the parasailing donkey incident took place last Thursday on a beach of the Sea of Azov in the Temryk District in Krasnodar.

“At this moment we have established a group of persons who are implicated in this incident. A precinct officer is taking measures to establish their whereabouts and carry out questioning about the incident. The committed act qualifies under Article 245, Part 2 of the Criminal Code as the cruel treatment of an animal, which is punishable by an 80,000 ruble ($2,600) fine and up to two years in prison,” Igor Zhelyabin from a local department of the Interior Ministry said.

Kimberly Wells from the Brooke, an international equine welfare charity, told RT that the way Russian police has reacted so far to the shocking episode is very encouraging.

“The Brooke has recently been working on a responsible tourism campaign to help people reduce animal suffering,” Wells said. “And when we were creating kinds of codes to help people make good decisions, we never came across an animal being involved in the tourism industry in this way.”

“Seeing the international reaction is very encouraging,” she added. “When people learn the right and wrong ways to do things, people’s actions will change.”