A young black cat was brutally mutilated and hung on Sigma Chi’s door Dec 2. The reward for information leading to an arrest for this incident is $5,000.

Sigma Chi and two other fraternities are currently under “summary disciplinary probation,” following the incident.

Aggravated cruelty to animals is a felony in New York state, punishable by up to two years in jail.

Prior to 11:30 p.m. Dec. 1, the cat’s remains were placed in a bag and hung on the door of the Sigma Chi house, and were discovered early on Dec. 2.

According to senior Basil Sitaras, vice president of Sigma Chi, member Michael sophmore Sweeney was the first to discover the cat while he was disposing of garbage.

The Rochester Police Department and the Humane Society at Lollypop Farm were notified Dec. 2, UR Security investigator Dan Lafferty said.

Doctor Andy Newmark, the Humane Society’s Chief Veterinarian performed an autopsy on the cat’s body on Dec. 3.

“When I saw the extent of the injuries, I was completely flabbergasted,” Newmark said. “I’ve done autopsies before, but this was brutal. The cat had multiple injuries. The skull, front legs and jaw were fractured. The back legs were snapped. Part of the abdomen was punctured so that parts of the intestines were exteriorized. The spine was broken in multiple places. It was a mess.”

After examining the cat, Newmark concluded that this was not an accident. “Somebody did this to him. The sort of injuries here were different than if the cat had been hit by a car, where the blow is more crushing,” he said. “When an animal has been hit by a car, it’s usually only in one location, not all over like this animal.”

According to a letter sent by Interim Dean of Students of The College Jody Asbury, “An active investigation by our University Security officers, the Humane Society and the Rochester Police Department is ongoing. The RPD and the Humane Society have already been on campus several times and their investigation will continue until this case is brought to resolution,” Asbury said. “This is not a case that will be dropped by these investigative units.”

Sigma Chi President senior Ryan St. John said, “Everyone is cooperating with security.”

Graduate student Kathleen Youngworth feels very strongly about this incident. “Hopefully, whoever did this will be caught because someone comes forward with some information,” she said. “Animal cruelty is a felony for a reason, and it makes me sick to think that this person may be walking next to me on campus.”

“I just think this incident is messed up,” freshman George Bruhn said. “It’s incomprehensible to me why anyone would do that to another living thing just for kicks.”

Some students found fault with the fraternities. Freshman Steve Lega said he feels “really disturbed by the incident. I think this sort of thing is very typical of the attitudes on the fraternities,” Lega said. “They are stereotypically spoiled rich kids. If I found out anything, I would definitely go to the proper authorities.”

Sitaras does not feel that the fraternities are to blame. “I don’t think there is any rivalry between fraternities,” Sitaras said. “Any rivalry we have is like a sports team- it’s not anything ongoing.”

“We’re under a probationary status right now,” Sitaras said, “although I’m not exactly sure why.”

Mark Anderson, Executive Secretary of the Sigma Chi Fraternity said, “Our Sigma Chi chapter seems to be involved only as the residents of the site the guilty individuals chose for their violent perpetration. Please know that Sigma Chi is disgusted with this animal cruelty, and condemns any individual involved?Greek member or not.”

Continuing, Anderson said, “Sigma Chi is about friendship, justice, learning and dignity. These are what has allowed our organization to enrich the lives of more than 200,000 men, and to endure in the face of ugliness ? ugliness like that which makes up this recent event.”

When the incident was first publicized, the reward was up to $1,000 for information leading an arrest. The reward is currently $5,000, with $3,500 from the community and $500 added from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

“PETA believes that other animals in the area, and even residents, are in danger as long as the person or persons responsible for this horrible crime are at large,” a PETA Urgent Public Action Alert reads, “‘Research in psychology and criminology, supported by the American Psychiatric Association and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, reveals a consistent pattern of cruelty to animals among perpetrators of violence towards humans,’ says PETA caseworker Martin Mersereau.”

Asbury feels that this matter should be resolved soon. “I appeal to all students, faculty and staff to join with concerned members of our community on and off campus in bringing this matter to an end. This act is repugnant and intolerable to us all,” Asbury said.

“Failure individually and as a community to come forward responsibly to help resolve the matter is a serious breach of The College’s values and communal life. I am asking that everyone who has knowledge that could be beneficial to the investigation of this case to report it to the appropriate offices.”

Fraternity President’s Council Chairman Matt Davison said, “The Fraternity President’s Council fully supports Dean Asbury’s call for responsible action in the matter. Furthermore, the FPC has great faith in the University’s ability to investigate and resolve this issue in a speedy and just manner,” Davison said.

“The Council believes that these actions have marred the University community and as such feel that an appropriate penalty is warranted,” Davison continues. “It should be noted that these actions are not representative of the values and foundations that the Greek community was founded upon.”

If you or anyone you know has any information regarding this incident, contact UR Investigator Lafferty at x35021 or the Animal Cruelty Hotline at 223-6500. Asbury also invites students to discuss the matter with a trusted faculty or staff member, a chaplain, coach or friend.

Schnee can be reached at cschnee@campustimes.org

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