After Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity’s house dog Yikes was injured, support from friends of the fraternity and members of the University community flooded in to help finance Yikes’s necessary surgery. However, the efforts have drawn negative attention from the Humane Society.

The Humane Society of Huron Valley has pursued an investigation into Yikes’s living situation since the organization found out about his injury. In addition, Engineering junior Gabe Johnson, who is Yikes’s official owner and the house manager of the fraternity located on Washtenaw Avenue, has been suspended by the fraternity’s international organization for having Yikes in the house.

Lambda Chi members believe Yikes — a Brittany spaniel — was hit by a vehicle, which resulted in his elbow becoming dislocated.

Johnson said the Humane Society has misinterpreted the cause of Yikes’s injury.

“A lot of it is misunderstandings and people jumping to conclusions,” Johnson said. “(People were) taking actions without really understanding the full story.”

Johnson said a representative from the Humane Society visited the fraternity house to assess the situation.

“They wanted to see if he was being abused, but after seeing his condition, and that we were working toward his cure, and that he had a good living situation, everything checked out just fine,” Johnson said.

Matt Schaecher, supervisor of Cruelty and Rescue at the Humane Society of Huron Valley, said the society began an investigation, but said he couldn’t disclose any further information since it is a pending case.

Yikes’s injury most likely resulted from his ability to open doors and knobs and let himself out of the fraternity house, Johnson said.

“Someone found him outside, limping on his leg,” he said. “We are guessing that he may have gotten hit by a car, but we’re not sure.”

Since the accident, Johnson said he has purchased an invisible electric fence to ensure Yikes won’t wander into the street again.

However, according to Tad Lichtenauer, director of communications for the international headquarters of Lambda Chi Alpha, Yikes shouldn’t have been in the house to begin with since it is a violation of the house lease to have pets. The local chapter hasn’t allowed students to keep pets on the premises since the international headquarters purchased the house in the mid-1980s, he said.

“When we took ownership of that house, we have had the stipulation about no pets, per the lease, because it’s a liability for us,” Lichtenauer said.

Because of this violation and other factors, Johnson has been put on disciplinary suspension by the international organization, Lichtenauer said.

“Gabe was suspended for a number of reasons, and only one of which was violating his lease with the dog,” he said. “He had a series of violations of the code of conduct that also led to his suspension.”

According to Lichtenauer, the suspension could be lifted if Johnson adheres to certain criteria and appeals to an executive committee of the local chapter. Lichtenauer added that as long as Johnson was in violation of the lease, he couldn’t continue to live in the house.

“It’s (a) violation of our lease to have a pet in that house, and that is really as black and white as it is from our standpoint,” he said.

Johnson declined to comment when asked about his suspension.

According to Chris Haughee, assistant director of the University’s Office of Greek Life, the University doesn’t own or maintain any fraternity or sorority housing, so it doesn’t have any restrictions on house pets. Haughee said he wasn’t aware of any animal rights violations in the Lambda Chi house.

“Private housing is a private issue, and we have no position and no policy on this issue,” Haughee said.

Schaecher said animal cruelty by students isn’t a significant problem on campus, but is still discussed as an issue.

“Generally we get complaints of students that have left for the summer that leave their animals behind,” Schaecher said.

However, Schaecher said the Humane Society doesn’t dissuade students from adopting pets.

“We don’t encourage or discourage students,” Schaecher said. “Most of the students are capable and are responsible just like anybody else is for the humane treatment of an animal. We’re not bombarded with complaints about students mistreating animals. Most of them can give the animals the adequate care.”

Despite all the controversy, Johnson said Yikes is taken care of at the fraternity house.

“At the end of the day, all I really want to do is help get my dog fixed without all this political garbage,” he said.

After taking Yikes to a veterinarian, Johnson said he found out the cost of surgery for Yikes would be higher than initial estimates due to a genetic problem that makes Brittany spaniels more prone to injury.

To raise the $3,500 for Yikes’s surgery, the Lambda Chi brothers started a Facebook group to garner support and advertise public services they’re offering in order to raise funds for Yikes’s surgery. These services include serenading people and allowing fraternity members’ friends to babysit Yikes for a fee. So far the brothers have raised $2,100.

Though the fraternity hasn’t yet collected enough funds for Yikes’s surgery, Johnson said he plans to proceed with the operation, which will take place on Wednesday at the Michigan State University Veterinary School.

“We’re going to go ahead and get the surgery, even though we haven’t raised enough money,” he said. “We’ll just set up a payment plan and continue to raise it.”

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