Investigators on Wednesday were looking for a donkey that parasailed over the Sea of Azov for 30 terrifying minutes last week.
The donkey's owner faces charges of animal abuse, which are punishable by up to two years in prison, but a veterinarian needs to examine the animal to confirm that it was hurt before the charges can be filed, RIA-Novosti reported, citing police.
The owner, who has been identified, has disappeared together with the animal, police said.
Outraged beachgoers said the donkey, attached to a parachute and pulled by a motorboat, screamed in fear for most of the flight, which ended with the animal being dragged "half-dead" several meters across the water's surface.
Animal rights activists said the donkey was certainly injured in the incident, which took place last Thursday in the village of Temryuk in the Krasnodar region.
The incident was reported to be an advertising stunt for a local parasailing business.
But the business's owner denied this, telling RIA-Novosti that the donkey¹s owner had requested that the animal be sent aloft for an unspecified purpose.