Thinking about having a raccoon as a pet? Think again! One New York couple recently had a raccoon in their possession and took it to the pet store for supplies. That trip to the store ended up costing each of them $500! Is owning a raccoon that expensive in New York? No, it's illegal!

According to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, raccoons are protected by law. No one may possess a raccoon without a license, and licenses are not issued for pet wildlife. Here's what happened.

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On Thursday June 2nd, a man and his girlfriend showed up at a local pet store with a raccoon and they were there looking for food and supplies for their 'pet". Store employees, knowing that it is illegal to possess a raccoon in New York, called authorities.

Environmental Conservation Officers got an urgent call from the Erie County Department of Health. The department was concerned about the possibility of a rabid raccoon and they needed help locating the animal.

dec.ny.gov
dec.ny.gov
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Once DEC officers arrived at the store they used surveillance camera footage, information from a store-issued rewards card and license plate information to locate the individuals with the raccoon.

The couple were found in Attica, NY with the raccoon and they didn't want to give him up. After some convincing on the part of DEC officers they relinquished the wild animal to authorities. The raccoon was then taken to a veterinary hospital where it was determined the raccoon was not rabid.

Photo by Overture Creations on Unsplash
Photo by Overture Creations on Unsplash
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As for the couple, they were charged for unlawfully possessing the raccoon and the owners each face a $500 fine. DEC urges the public to leave wild animals alone. Possessing wild animals is not only unlawful, doing so can be deadly. Once a rabies infection is established, there's no effective treatment.

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