Animal lovers around the world were stunned this week by footage of a parasailing donkey in Southern Russia.
An entrepreneur strapped the animal to a parachute and launched it into the sky in a publicity stunt.
“Sitting on the beach…I saw a parachute go up and couldn’t quite figure it out,” said Sergey Borodin, an eyewitness. “I saw four legs… narrowed my eyes – it was a donkey!”
It was intended to attract only local customers to a water sports firm at a Russian Black Sea resort, but its effect quickly rippled out across the world – leaving many worried about the donkey’s fate.
“This animal’s suffering was captured on video and photographs,” said Kimberly Wells, Brooke’s equine and welfare advisor. “The way it has spread through the media is really amazing. And I think what the public is done is create a demand for animals to be treated better and for people to pay attention.”
After attracting such an audience, the donkey’s owner decided to try his hand at a different sport – running, taking the evidence and the animal at the center of it all with him.
Authorities also questioned the water sports company involved. The police then concentrated all of their efforts on finding the owner and his donkey.
In his haste to leave, the donkey's owner abandoned other animals – a camel and horse. Rumor has it that they too may have been skyward bound were it not for their size.
Several days later the man turned himself in, along with a vet's report confirming the donkey’s good health.
Police doubt the owner will now even be fined.
As for the donkey, he will no doubt be relived just to have his hooves firmly back on the sand.