Two SUNY College at Brockport students are learning a hard lesson today — dogs and keg stands do not mix.
An image of a young male holding a 4-month-old black Labrador Retriever upside down atop a beer keg was shared on the @SUNYPartyStory Twitter account Sunday with the caption “Keg stands n Bits!” More than 68,000 people follow the popular account, unaffiliated with the State University of New York system.
Police have since arrested two College at Brockton students — Shane Oliver, 20, the young man who appeared in the now infamous photograph, and Robert Yates, also 20, the man responsible for taking the photograph.
Both Oliver and Yates have been charged with a misdemeanor for torturing or injuring an animal under Agriculture and Marketing Law. They are slated to appear in court in April.
“Through a joint investigation between the SUNY Brockport Police, the Brockport Police Department and the Sweden Dog Warden, it was learned that a dog was held upside down, and apparently forced to consume beer from a keg during a party that occurred on Saturday March 8, 2014 at a house located on Monroe Avenue in the village of Brockport,” authorities released in a statement.
The dog’s owner was apparently not home at the time of the incident, so the Lab has been taken into custody for the time being while authorities continue their investigation.
“The dog had the tap in its mouth and we were concerned by that,” Brockport Police Lieutenant Mark Cuzzupoli tells WHAM. “People get very upset over incidents like this.”
And Lt. Cuzzupoli is right — though the offending tweet has since been deleted from the @SUNYPartyStory account, social media is still abuzz over the canine keg stand.
“Don’t get me wrong. I love the nightlife in Brockport, but making a dog do a keg stand is ridiculous,” one College at Brockport student tweeted.
And another Brockport student, Sage Hallenbeck, also voiced her disgust.
“Stay classy Brockport for putting that picture of a dog doing a keg stand on @SUNYPartyStory. Makes me sad to say I go to college here,” Hallenbeck tweeted.
Though the party in question apparently took place off campus, school officials were none too pleased about the photograph, releasing a statement after the students’ arrest.
“We were alarmed to learn of this disturbing photo. The College is investigating this matter and will take appropriate action once the details surrounding the photo are learned,” a College at Brockport spokesperson said in a statement.
Animal advocates hope this incident will serve as a reminder to other dog owners that beer and other alcoholic beverages are poisonous to pets. Even a small amount of alcohol can cause life-threatening toxicity. In only 15 to 30 minutes, pets who’ve ingested alcohol start to show signs of depression, slower reflexes, and lack of coordination.
While some who don’t know better might think it’s humorous to watch their dog stumble around like a drunk frat boy, the situation can get very bad very quickly. Alcohol or ethanol poisoning in pets can cause seizures, sudden dips in blood glucose levels, decreased body temperature, and even death.
Some party attendants, however, insist that the photo isn’t all that it seems.
“The puppy hadn’t had a sip of alcohol all night,” says Kyle Karst, who lives at the home where the photo was taken. “It was strictly a joke that went wrong.”
Karst says that he doesn’t believe either of the young men would ever hurt an animal.
“Bobby’s been there ever since we first got the dog,” he says, specifically mentioning Mr. Yates. “He helps pay for the vet bills, and now everything is blown out of proportion.”