An Interior Ministry spokesman said Monday the episode occurred Thursday at an Azov Sea beach in the Krasnodar region, RIA Novosti reported Monday.
"The donkey was screaming, and children were crying yet nobody had the brains to call the police," The Daily Telegraph in London quoted local police spokeswoman Larisa Tuchkova as saying.
The Telegraph said some people told those in charge to "stop torturing" the animal during the half-hour publicity gimmick that ended with the donkey being dragged several feet in the water before being hauled onto the beach.
The idea apparently was to lure customers to the entrepreneurs' parasailing business. Instead, police will determine whether animal cruelty charges are warranted. If found guilty, they could be sent to prison for two years, the Russian TV network RT reported.