ATTICA, NY (AP) — A New York man and woman face fines of $500 each after taking a raccoon to a pet store to buy food and a store employee reported them, authorities said.
A state Department of Environmental Conservation police officer received an urgent call from the Erie County Health Department about a potentially rabid raccoon on June 2, the DEC said in A press release.
The health department said a couple brought a raccoon to a pet store for food and supplies and a store employee contacted authorities. Raccoons are considered dangerous wild animals as they are known to carry and transmit the deadly rabies virus.
The DEC agent used store surveillance video, a store-issued rewards card and license plate information to locate the couple in the western New York town of Attica, the department said. The owners turned over the raccoon and were each charged with unlawful possession of a wild animal, which carries 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.