- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 14, 2004

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Two students at the University of Missouri-Columbia have been charged with animal abuse for stuffing about 40 opossums — living and dead — into a plastic barrel for a fraternity house stunt.

In the bizarre contest, members were given one point for each dead opossum they could find and two points for a live one, authorities said. The Missouri Department of Conservation said fraternity members reportedly planned to release the animals into the yard of another fraternity.

Officials said the abuse was discovered Nov. 19 when neighbors complained about the noise. Police reported seeing students gathered around a large plastic barrel about two-thirds full of opossums, only half of them still alive.

Fraternity members Zachary Wade Famuliner and Adam Paul Thomas were charged with animal abuse and illegally pursuing, taking, killing, possessing or disposing of wildlife. The students, both 19, pleaded not guilty to the misdemeanors.

Philip Josephson, national executive director of Alpha Gamma Rho, said last week that he found the opossum stunt “deplorable” and that it had not been sanctioned or sponsored by the fraternity.

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