Northampton Man to Spend up to Four Years in State Prison after Pleading Guilty to Killing Dog, Setting it on Fire

A 50-year-old man was sentenced to two to four years in state prison after pleading guilty on Wednesday, March 23, 2022, to killing his dog last year and then burning it on a barbecue grill.

Nikolay Lukyanchikov, of Northampton Township, entered an open guilty plea to counts of receiving stolen property, aggravated cruelty to animals, possessing an instrument of crime, cruelty to animals and recklessly endangering another person.

Calling his actions offensive, Common Pleas Judge Raymond F. McHugh sentenced Lukyanchikov to spend up to four years in state prison and also ordered that he could never own, possess, or care for any animals of any kind.

The dog, an 8-year-old greyhound named Bonanza, was rescued in February 2019 from a Macau, China, racetrack that animal rights activists described as “the worst hellhole for racing greyhounds in the world.”

He was one of 118 greyhounds saved from the racetrack and cared for by the National Greyhound Adoption Program in Philadelphia. He was adopted by Lukyanchikov in October 2019 who renamed the dog, Preacher.  

The investigation began when Northampton Township police were dispatched at 7:12 a.m. on April 30, 2021, to a residence on Holly Knoll Drive for a report of a firepit and a couch on fire in the front yard.

Upon arrival, patrol officers found Lukyanchikov, the property owner, who was sitting on a bench near the fire. Police observed him throwing fake $100 bills into the fire and squirting it with lighter fluid. They also spotted a 9-mm handgun on the bench, which turned out to be a gun that fired blanks.  

Police said Lukyanchikov was “highly intoxicated."

Once the fire was extinguished, police spotted an unknown animal badly burned and charred on top of a small metal charcoal grill. The animal was later determined to be Lukyanchikov’s dog, Preacher.  A necropsy later determined that Preacher had been shot at least once. 

A roommate told police that she heard several shots coming from Lukyanchikov's bedroom and when she went to the bedroom to see what happened, she found that he had shot his dog. She said she barricaded herself in her room because she was afraid.

Police observed blood on the wall of the stairwell leading up to the second floor, and more blood on the floor and throughout Lukyanchikov's second-floor bedroom. Police also found several shell casings on the floor, along with several other firearms in plain view throughout the bedroom.

During a search of the residence, police observed bullet holes in the floor of the bedroom and exit holes in the ceiling of the first floor living room.

Police served a search warrant and seized a 9-mm Baretta handgun with an extended magazine and five hollow point rounds.

During Wednesday’s hearing, Deputy District Attorney Robert D. James said Lukyanchikov was deemed a person not to possess a firearm under the law as the result of a prior involuntary commitment in 2011.

Since that time, Lukyanchikov attempted to purchase a firearm in 2019 from a Bucks County gun store but was declined, wrote to the state to have his rights to possess a firearm restored, and asked his roommate to purchase him a firearm but she also refused.

He eventually got a firearm by stealing a 9-mm Baretta from a friend’s widow a week before he used the gun to kill his dog, James said.

James told Judge McHugh that during an interview, Lukyanchikov said he shot the dog to put it out of its misery, but also because he was “having a rough day.”

This case was investigated by Northampton Township Police Department, led by Detective Thomas Martin, and was prosecuted by Deputy District Attorney Robert D. James.

Media Contact: Manuel Gamiz Jr., 215.348.6298, mgamiz@buckscounty.org