×
Enjoying ad-free content?
Since July 1, 2024, we have disabled all ads to improve your reading experience.
This commitment costs us $10,000 a month. Your support can help us fill the gap.
Support us
Our journalism is banned in Russia. We need your help to keep providing you with the truth.

Woman Arrested for Stealing Guide Dog Declares Hunger Strike

A stolen guide dog drama that seized Muscovites' imagination two weeks ago is far from over.

On Monday, Investigative Committee spokesman Vladimir Markin announced via Twitter that the woman allegedly responsible for stealing the guide dog from its blind owner had been detained and was being kept in a pretrial detention center.

On Tuesday, the suspect — Viktoria Pavlenko — said she was going on hunger strike in protest at being unfairly accused. She says she simply took a dog that appeared to have got lost to an animal shelter, the Yod news website reported Tuesday.

The dog, a golden labrador named Diana that belongs to a blind singer, Yulia Dyakova, was reportedly stolen at about 6 p.m. on July 29 outside Papa Carlo, a pet store near Profsoyuznaya metro station in the city's south.

Appeals to find the dog and punish the thief quickly spread through social networks and attracted public attention, making the case high-profile enough for the Investigative Committee to step in, Markin said in an official statement published on the committee's website.

“We will do everything to return your loyal friend and helper to you,” he vowed to Dyakova via Twitter on July 31.

The dog was found last week at a shelter in the satellite town of Domodedovo, the Gazeta.ru news site reported, citing local police. It was then returned to its owner, and several days later the Investigative Committee claimed it had found the person responsible for abducting Diana.

But Pavlenko, who claims to be a volunteer for one of the dog shelters, denied the allegations. A day before she was arrested, she put forward her side of the story on her Facebook page, saying she had found a dog that was obviously lost and had taken it to a shelter as she always does in such cases.

According to her lawyer, she then went to the police voluntarily to make a statement, but was arrested upon her arrival, Yod reported.

Contact the author at d.litvinova@imedia.ru

… we have a small favor to ask. As you may have heard, The Moscow Times, an independent news source for over 30 years, has been unjustly branded as a "foreign agent" by the Russian government. This blatant attempt to silence our voice is a direct assault on the integrity of journalism and the values we hold dear.

We, the journalists of The Moscow Times, refuse to be silenced. Our commitment to providing accurate and unbiased reporting on Russia remains unshaken. But we need your help to continue our critical mission.

Your support, no matter how small, makes a world of difference. If you can, please support us monthly starting from just $2. It's quick to set up, and you can be confident that you're making a significant impact every month by supporting open, independent journalism. Thank you.

Once
Monthly
Annual
Continue
paiment methods
Not ready to support today?
Remind me later.

Read more