I was born in Ukraine, a beautiful country in Eastern Europe that was a part of the Soviet Union till it collapsed in 1991. I studied and lived in Moscow, Russia before coming to the United States in January 1991, right in the middle of the First Persian Gulf War. I received my MS in Biochemistry and PhD in Bioorganic Chemistry from Lomonosov Moscow State University, arguably the best school in the former Soviet Union.
My wife Oksana and I have owned beagles since 1994; however, the first show beagle “Toozik”, CH Starbuck Torbay Legally Wild CDX RAE TD CD TDI, came to our life only ten years later. I finished Toozik myself in eight shows with five major wins and became addicted to dog shows. Toozik also became my first performance dog competing and winning titles in Obedience, Rally and Tracking.
Oksana and I produced our first beagle litter under prefix PUN KOTZKY in 2009. Since then we have bred and co-bred just over a dozen of litters, with average one litter a year whelped and raised in our home. Our breeding program is limited and very selective. Health issues are of paramount importance for us and we do careful health evaluation of our breeding stock including DNA testing for breed specific and other genetic disorders. When breeding, we pay very close attention to temperament as well – producing happy, friendly dogs that are easy to live with is our goal.
Despite a very small scale of our breeding program we have enjoyed a success in the show ring. We have finished and bred over 30 American champions. Beagles we produce are quite competitive and have won numerous awards in the US and around the globe. Our de facto foundation bitch Lolita, CH Starbuck Torbay Deva of Pun Kotzky, was NBC Top Producing Dam in 2013. Her daughter Alissa, GCHS Pun Kotzky Treasure Island was Select Bitch at NBC 2013 in Phoenix, America’s top five 15” beagle and a winner of multiple specialties in 2014. Bonny, GCH Pun Kotzky Fete de la Musique, received the first Award of Merit in bitches at NBC 2015 in Gray Summit. Alissa’s daughter Pixie Dust, GCHS Pun Kotzky Treasure in the Dust, was BOS to BISS at NBC 2016 in Ocala, 15” BOS at NBC 2017 in Aldie, a multiple beagle and hound specialties winner, #3 15” beagle and NBC 15” Beagle Best of Opposite Sex of the year in 2017. Bella, GCHB Pun Kotzky Treasure of the Heart, and Esther, GCH Eardley Escort, both won 13” BOV at beagle specialties in 2017.
I was approved to judge beagles by AKC in 2017. Professionally, I am a research scientist in the fields of Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular and Cellular Biology. I have been employed as a staff scientist by Genetics and Biochemistry Branch of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases in Bethesda, MD since 1992.