Crime Watch

Police: Tenant Ate Landlady's Dog

Aug 05, 2004
The Moscow Times

A suspected car thief is in police custody on suspicion of killing and eating his landlady's dog.

Police arrested Maxim Kolov, 21, on July 9 after Nina Zotova reported that her tenant had killed her dog Tuzik, a husky-collie mixed-breed. Zotova purchased the dog 1 1/2 years ago for $150 at the Ptichy Rynok pet market in southeastern Moscow, police spokeswoman Yelena Zasimova said.

According to Zasimova, on the evening of July 8, Kolov came to visit Zotova, 66, at her apartment on Polyarnaya Ulitsa near the Babushkinskaya metro station in northeast Moscow. Zotova, who rented an apartment to Kolov on Yasny Proyezd in the same area, was not home. Only her husband was in the apartment, looking after Tuzik.

When Kolov, who had been drinking heavily, arrived, he offered to take Tuzik for a walk, to which Zotova's husband readily agreed. After strolling with the dog for a while, Kolov decided to visit his friend Denis, who lived in the area. Denis, whose last name is not being released, was also drunk, Zasimova said.

Kolov promptly sent Denis to the store to buy vodka and beer and sat down to relax and wait with Tuzik. This is when things began to turn ugly.

"The dog apparently wasn't comfortable in the strange surroundings and began barking uncontrollably," Zasimova said. "Pretty soon Kolov couldn't stand it any more, so he hit the dog over the head with a wrench and killed it."

But the gruesome tale did not end there. While still waiting for Denis to return, Kolov took the dead dog into the bathroom, skinned it and started frying the meat, Zasimova said.

Kolov put Tuzik's bones, pelt and leash in a plastic bag and threw them in a trash can not far from Zotova's apartment building, Zasimova said.

When Denis returned with the vodka and beer, the meat was cooked and the two friends sat down to drink and snack on the dog meat.

By tradition, eating snacks is almost obligatory in Russia while consuming alcohol. Vodka shots are typically chased with pickled items, such as cucumbers or mushrooms, while beer is often accompanied by small pieces of dried, salted bread, known as sukhariki, or dried fish, known as vobla.

Denis had no idea that he was eating Tuzik, Zasimova said, and he did not make the connection between the food that had suddenly appeared and the missing dog.

"Kolov had cleaned up the blood in the bathroom, so there were no signs that anything bad had happened," Zasimova said. "And Denis was so drunk that he didn't notice anything or ask any questions."
When Zotova returned home that evening and asked her husband where Tuzik was, he informed her that Kolov had taken the dog for a walk and not returned, Zasimova said.

Zotova searched for Tuzik until 5 a.m., when she came across the plastic bag and saw her pet's leash and remains. She promptly called police, who arrested Kolov later that day at his apartment. It was not clear why Zotova did not go immediately to Kolov's apartment to clarify the dog's whereabouts, Zasimova said.

Zasimova said Kolov could not explain why he killed and ate Tuzik and that he hardly remembers the incident.

Kolov faces up to six months in jail for animal cruelty and has also been charged with auto theft over an incident earlier this year in which he is suspected of stealing a car from a gypsy cab driver.

The driver had got out of the car momentarily to refill the car's water, Zasimova said, and Kolov, the cabby's fare, is thought to have hopped behind the wheel from the passenger seat and sped off.

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