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PETA responds to opossum abuse incident in Bloomsburg area

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BLOOMSBURG -- The case of opossum abuse in Bloomsburg, which went viral on social media, resulted in charges against the offenders and launched an investigation by Bloomsburg University has prompted an appeal to the school by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

In a press release, PETA thanked Bloomsburg University for investigating the allegations against one of its students, who was pictured among a group of men who doused the opossum with beer and tossed it into a trash can. PETA also suggested that Bloomsburg implement an empathy training course for its students, according to the release.

In a letter to the school, PETA pointed out a link between cruelty to animals and violence directed at human beings.

"Tormenting and throwing aside an opossum is a huge red flag that the young adults involved need a lesson in empathy," says PETA President Ingrid Newkirk. "PETA is calling on Bloomsburg University to help prevent violence by sending its students the message that bullying and abusing any living being are unacceptable."

According to court documents, Morgan Scot Ehrenzeller, 20, of McAlisterville, Michael Robert Tice, 18, of Newport, and David Mason Snook, 19, of Mifflin, have been charged with unlawful taking or possession of wildlife and disturbance of game or wildlife by the Pennsylvania Game Commission.

The citations are non-traffic violations. The three men each ordered to pay fines totalling $1,341.50.

Ehrenzeller is a student at Bloomsburg University. The school is launching its own investigation of the incident to determine if Ehrenzeller can be punished for violating the school's student code, the school said.