Cruelty to animals has long been a problem in Russia, with animal protection laws loosely enforced and packs of stray dogs, uncared for by the state, left to roam the streets of Moscow.
But that cruelty has taken on a new dimension and sparked a public outcry with a recent spree of dog poisonings in a posh neighborhood in Moscow. Dozens of dogs have died, allegedly after eating poison concealed in scraps of meat left in a park where pets were being walked.
On Friday, police opened a criminal investigation.
Vera Lesovets, whose 5-year-old Corgie died that way, blames what she calls dog hunting, a hobby gaining ground in the Russian online community.
"They have websites," she said. "They write how they kill them, post photographs, tell you which poison is better and where to buy it."