New York man and woman face $500 fines after bringing raccoon into store

ATTICA, N.Y. (AP) — A New York man and woman face $500 fines each after they took a raccoon to a pet store to buy food and a store clerk ratted them out. authorities said.

A police officer with the state Department of Environmental Conservation received an urgent call from the Erie County Health Department about a potentially rabid raccoon on June 2, the DEC said in a news release.

The health department said a couple had brought a raccoon to a pet store looking for food and supplies and an employee at the store contacted authorities. Raccoons are considered dangerous wild animals because they are known to carry and transmit the deadly rabies virus.

The DEC officer used store surveillance video, a store-issued rewards card and license plate information to locate the couple in the western New York city of Attica, the department said. The owners turned the raccoon over and were charged with unlawful possession of a wild animal, which is subject to a $500 fine, authorities said.

The raccoon that was confiscated from the couple was euthanized and tested for rabies, a test that can only be performed on an animal after it has died. The test was negative, the DEC said.

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