Russian police have said they will not bring criminal charges against a group of men who tied a donkey to a parachute and towed it by speedboat for more than half an hour.
The tasteless parasailing stunt took place at a beach in southern Russia earlier this month and angered animal rights activists around the world who demanded the men responsible be severely punished.
However, a spokeswoman for the local police force said they had decided not to press criminal charges after an investigation revealed the donkey was actually fine.
"We are not going to bring criminal charges because a vet examined the donkey and concluded it was clinically healthy," said spokeswoman Dina Goncharova.
The men who orchestrated the stunt, ostensibly to attract attention to their parasailing business, could have faced jail sentences of up to two years if found guilty of animal cruelty.
But the fact that the donkey at the centre of the furore escaped physically unscathed meant the case against the men was weak in the eyes of the Russian law which is notoriously lax when it comes to animal cruelty.
The donkey, an eight-year old female called Manya, was "still very friendly" and had not become frightened of humans as a result of her ordeal, according to those now caring for the animal.
The French actress turned animal rights campaigner Brigitte Bardot wrote to Russia's prosecutor general last Friday asking him to get tough with the stunt's organisers. She is likely to be disappointed by the decision not to prosecute. It remains to be seen whether the men may be fined for their prank instead.
I wish for the people who committed this act of obvious animal cruelty to be brought to justice.
The Stop Russian Animal Cruelty petition to Russian Embassy was written by Rebecca and is in the category Animal Rights at GoPetition.