Frat didn't abuse camel, Penn says

Posted: April 26, 2011

A University of Pennsylvania fraternity was cleared Monday of camel-abuse allegations stemming from an April 15 party. Although the camel's owner also absolved the frat of any wrongdoing, she said the beast would not return to Zeta Psi.

One of several animals hired for the Spring Fling petting zoo, Kahn the camel was photographed lying on the ground as several young women stood by, plastic cups in hand.

George Leslie, a postdoctoral fellow at Penn's School of Medicine, snapped the picture and distributed it to media outlets. Leslie, 42, called the party, held near 34th and Walnut Streets, "a terrible scene."

"There was loud music and drunk college students everywhere," Leslie said.

On Monday, Penn spokesman Ron Ozio said that the university's Office of Student Life determined that the camel had not been mishandled.

"As far as the university is concerned, that's the end of the matter," Ozio said.

It was the fifth time in as many years that Kahn had appeared at Zeta Psi, said its owner, Charis Matey, who runs the Peaceable Kingdom Petting Zoo in Bucks County.

"It was a fun day. The students were wonderful. Nothing happened," Matey said. "Then some moron took a picture of the camel lying down eating hay, with some girls standing beside him.

"I did nothing wrong. The camel did nothing wrong. The frat did nothing wrong. It was a perfect day, and this guy ruined it."

Leslie could not immediately be reached for comment.

Though the controversy has blown over, Matey said Kahn, who travels with a retinue of goats and sheep, would never return to the Penn campus.

"All the kids are wonderful, gentle, and nice," she said. "But why should I subject myself to that again?"

Contact staff writer Sam Wood at 215-854-2796 or


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