A woman who brought a wild raccoon into a bar, which prompted state health officials to issue a warning about potential rabies exposure, is facing criminal charges.
According to AP news, Erin Christensen, 38, is charged with a misdemeanor counts of providing false information to law enforcement, tampering with physical evidence and unlawful possession of furbearers.
Christensen said her family found the raccoon on the side of a road about three months ago and named in Rocky. She said they were nursing the animal back to health with plans to release it back into the wild.
It is illegal under North Dakota Board of Animal Health laws to keep a wild raccoon. Authorities euthanized the animal, and tested negative for rabies. Christensen was arrested after her and the raccoon were served several search warrants.
The charges against Christensen carry a maximum punishment of about two years in jail $7,500 in fines.
North Dakota’s Health and Human Services Department issued a warning asking anyone who may have been bitten or had contact with the raccoon’s saliva to seek medical care. Although the raccoon never bit anyone at the bar.
“It’s unfair and too much was done to detain an innocent raccoon,” Christensen said. “They were not worried about the health of us if we had rabies or not. They were worried about finding and killing Rocky and putting me behind bars.”