DeKALB - Wheezer is a 7-pound, 3-year-old Chihuahua, but for one brief moment, owner Mike Ehorn looked at his tiny dog and saw a moose. Ehorn of DeKalb claims he was ejected from the Loyal Order of Moose this month because he tried to sponsor two dogs, including Wheezer, for membership in the organization. The Loyal Order of Moose is a fraternal service-oriented group with chapters in the United States, Canada, Great Britain and Bermuda. The organization participates in community service projects and also runs a home and school for disadvantaged children in Batavia. “You know, you join a civic organization, and you donate your time and your money, and all of a sudden you're a criminal because you tried to sign up a dog as a member,” Ehorn, a truck driver, said in a phone interview from the road. “I had no clue this was going to snowball to this effect.” According to Ehorn, the story began last fall when he decided, as a joke, to submit an application and $55 membership fee for Wheezer. At the time, Ehorn said he had been a Moose for about a year and a half, and the dog often accompanied him and his fiancee into the lodge. “Everybody on the board knew Wheezer was a Chihuahua,” he said. “They had seen him and known him for a couple of years, but they went along, submitted (the application) to Moose International, and we got a card.” Ehorn said some members of the local chapter didn't find the joke funny and called Moose International headquarters in Batavia to complain. When Moose officials called him on it, Ehorn said he sent Wheezer's membership card back. “It wasn't as if we were going to send Wheezer's puppies to Mooseheart (school,)” he said. “When the dog retired, we weren't going to send him to Moosehaven (retirement community) in Florida. It was basically just a $55 donation.” Had the joke stopped there, Ehorn may have been left with a slap on the wrist and an amusing story to tell while sitting around the lodge. But rather than let sleeping dogs lie, a few weeks later he filled out a new membership application, this time for the puppy of a friend. The friend, who works at the DeKalb Moose lodge, declined to comment. After the second application, Ehorn said a representative of Moose International came to a March meeting of the DeKalb chapter to reprimand him and the DeKalb board for flaunting Moose rules, which say members can only sponsor another person for membership in the organization. Ehorn said he argued with the representative before turning in his membership card. DeKalb Moose Administrator Jay Ruby declined to comment, and a woman who answered the phone at the office of Moose International General Governor David Chambers said the matter was “private” and Chambers would not discuss it. On March 14, Ehorn received an e-mail from Chambers that expelled him from the fraternity and banned him from Moose property. “...(D)ue to your intentional violations and complete disrespect of our General Laws, and because of your insubordinate conduct ... you are expelled from the Order and prohibited from going on the property of any Moose lodge as a purported guest or otherwise,” the e-mail reads. “If you do so, you are subject to being arrested for trespassing.” “I thought that was a little high-handed for making a donation by signing up a dog,” Ehorn said. Ehorn said he had no idea his “joke” would be taken so far, but sounded more bitter than repentant. “All I did was submit an application and pay $55,” he said. “If we signed up everybody's dogs, you'd have one heck of a fundraiser.” Dana Herra can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.