A young black cat was brutally mutilated and hung on Sigma Chi’s door Dec 2.

Sigma Chi, Alpha Delta Epsilon, and Delta Kappa Epsilon were placed on summary disciplinary probation following the incident. Sigma Chi and Alpha Delt were on probation for three months, while DKE remains on probation and will not be allowed to house new residents next year as of May.

“Essentially, summary disciplinary probation is an action in place for certain situations,” Associate Dean of Students Kenneth Rockensies in charge of discipline said. “It basically puts a hold on things until the situation is resolved.”

Incident

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’s house. They were discovered early on Dec. 2.

Senior Basil Sitaras, vice president of Sigma Chi, said that sophomore member Michael 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 the morning of 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,” Newmark said. “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,” he said. “The sort of injuries here were different than if the cat had been hit by a car, where the blow is more crushing.

“When an animal has been hit by a car, it’s usually only in one location, not all over like this animal,” Newmark said.

When the incident was first publicized, the reward was set for $1,000 for information leading to an arrest. The reward later was raised to $5,000, with $3,500 from the community and $500 added from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, who thought that residents and animals in the area were in danger.

Security’s difficulties

While looking for new information, UR Security encountered some problems in obtaining information from residents of the Fraternity Quad. “Investigators are experiencing some instances in which a witness, when re-interviewed, no longer remembers the names they provided in earlier conversations,” Director of Security Walter Mauldin said.

“A few have no recollection, now, of even being in the area at the times in question,” he said.

Most members of the Fraternity Quad feel that they greatly aided the investigation. “We’ve cooperated more than you can imagine,” President of Sigma Chi Ryan St John said.

Effect on DKE

While DKE will be affected by the decision that new residents will not be allowed to live in their house next year, President of DKE and junior Eric Dubowsky believes that DKE will persevere under the restriction.

“The freshmen, even if separated by a distance on campus, will not be disassociated with this fraternity,” Dubowsky said. “If anything, the bond between us has grown stronger in the face of adversity on this campus.”

While she did not name DKE as the fraternity discussed in her letter, Interim Dean of Students Jody Asbury did say that she had reservations regarding the house on the Quad that will not be allowed to have new residents for next year.

“There are concerns about conduct that suggest that [the house] is not a healthy community,” Asbury said.

Some believe that DKE has been unfairly targeted and slandered by the administration, faculty and students. “It’s been tough,” Dubowski said. “A lot of rumors and lies are floating around campus. The way this [incident] has been handled has made people make assumptions.

“We’ve had a pretty clean history for as long as I’ve been here, and for this one thing to destroy our traditions is disturbing,” Dubowsky added.

Vigil

On Wednesday, Feb. 13, a memorial service was held for the cat found mutilated on Dec. 2.

The event was presented by the Animals Rights Advocates of Upstate New York. President of ARAUNY Lois Baum said, “The whole community was just enraged, and we wanted to offer some healing with this memorial service.”

The night began with Baum reading a quote from Gandhi. “The greatness of a nation … can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”

Vice President and General Secretary Dean Paul Burgett spoke at the event, saying that the university and the Humane Society share similar values regarding the humane treatment of animals.

Speaking on the cat incident, he said, “This represents a violation of this value.”

“The university cooperates and is cooperating fully with the Humane Society and the Rochester Police Department to resolve this matter quickly and as equitably as we can,” Burgett continued.

Baum said she feels that this vigil is very important for the community and also for animals in general. “Our focus is on this cat,” she said. “It is for this cat, and animals like her.”

Approximately twenty people attended, including university representative Burgett and Vice President of Public Relations Robert Kraus.

“It’s freezing out and it’s Ash Wednesday, so we’re happy with this turnout,” Baum said.

“The group asked if the university would be present because we share similar values about humane treatment for all living creatures,” Burgett said.

Kraus said of his reason for coming, “I came here because I wanted to hear their concerns.”

Several students were also in attendance at the event. “I came because I just wanted to see what was going on,” freshman Apryl Steverson said.

“I saw the signs, and coming seemed like appropriate thing to do,” graduate student Nathan Nobis said.

“I couldn’t imagine doing anything better,” Nobis said.

Several members from the community participated in the event. “I find this whole thing sickening and appalling,” Marcia Walsh said. “This has really put a black mark on the campus.”

“It just bothers me to think that the people that did this are here on this campus,” she continued.

Her husband Dan Walsh also attended the vigil. “People that know something have a responsibility to say something,” he said. “They have blood on their hands, too.”

Possible felony

The felony of aggravated assault to animals “probably did not occur,” according to a letter written by Asbury, which was sent to residents and members of the Fraternity Quad.

If a felony did not occur, then the cat must have been killed by a car, due to the condition of the cat.

Despite the opinion of Newmark, other veterinarians and the District Attorney’s office that the cat was not killed by a car, Asbury feels that it is possible that the cat was found as roadkill and brought to the campus.

Schnee can be reached at cschnee@campustimes.org.



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