“Let’s go, keg stand!”
A Hofstra University student could be heard shouting the phrase in a recently released video from the Alpha Epsilon Pi house. Though it may not seem strange in the context of a fraternity party, the fact that a puppy was on the other end of the keg’s tap has thrown the chapter in a whirlwind of controversy, and animal cruelty charges.
In the 5-second video, one man is seen holding the Cavalier King Charles, tilting it upside down. Another holds the tap under its mouth. As the valve is released, shooting beer all over the puppy’s face, the surrounding students can be heard laughing.
The incident has since drawn the ire of Nassau County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, as well as the university, with the latter suspending the fraternity chapter pending an investigation. The chapter was also placed on “‘cease and desist’ due to suspected violations of our health and safety policies.”
According to the Washington Post, the Nassau County SPCA has launched its own separate investigation.
“It was very wrong on so many levels‚” Gary Rogers, a spokesman for the Nassau County SPCA, told The Washington Post. “I’m sure it wasn’t the dog’s idea, ‘Hey, I want some beer.’ Animals don’t make that choice.”
The dog belonged to a 21-year-old student at the university, who is also shown in the video, the Post reports.
“Our paramount concern is the safety of the dog,” Rogers said. “The dog is no longer in that environment.”
The video was recorded at the Jewish fraternity’s off-campus house in Hempstead, N.Y., and posted to SnapChat before someone else shared it to Twitter.
“[S]o apparently it’s okay to force dogs to drink beer even though it can kill them????” the second post from Twitter user kristinaproscia read.
That post has been retweeted more than 1,500 times, raising no shortage of admonishment from animal rights activists, as well as others associated with Hofstra University.
In an official statement, the University made it clear that anyone identified in the video could face consequences if their actions were in conflict with the school’s Code of Community Standards.
“During this investigatory period, there can be no chapter activities,” Jon Pierce, a spokesman for Alpha Epsilon Pi, wrote to The Washington Post. “We hope that we are able to use this as a teaching moment to help build better young men who are committed to our policies and our mission of developing the future leaders of the world’s Jewish communities.”
Alcohol poses a number of health risks in animals. According to Natural Wonder Pets, even eating fermented foods can be harmful to a small dog. Their metabolism and reaction time slows down, they become drowsy and confused.
In severe cases, alcohol toxicity can even cause death.
“We don’t see much of this in vet medicine because alcohol tends to be distasteful to most animals,” Steven Friedenberg, an assistant professor in the department of veterinary clinical sciences at the University of Minnesota’s College of Veterinary Medicine, told petMD. “They don’t regularly seek this out, and most owners don’t deliberately feed their animals alcohol.
“We’ve seen so much and read so much about frat hazing, why were they doing that to an animal?” Friedenberg continued. “Whether this is an animal crime or not, animal crime is basically a precursor to other violent crime. If you’re doing it to a dog or other animal, you can do it to a person.”
Matthew Russell is a West Michigan native and with a background in journalism, data analysis, cartography and design thinking. He likes to learn new things and solve old problems whenever possible, and enjoys bicycling, going to the dog park, spending time with his daughter, and coffee.
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