Animal Conservation

New York couple face fines after bringing raccoon to pet store for food

A New York man and his girlfriend are each facing a $500 fine after bringing a raccoon to an Erie County pet store for food, officials said.

The unidentified couple have been charged with unlawful possession of a wild animal, the state Department of Environmental Conservation said in a news release. The agency noted that it is not only illegal to have wild animals as pets, but also dangerous.

A man and his girlfriend took a raccoon to a pet store for food and supplies in Eerie County, New York, before one of the store’s employees contacted authorities.ny.gov

“Rabies test results for the raccoon were negative. DEC urges the public to leave wild animals alone,” the statement read. “Once a rabies infection is established, there is no effective treatment.” The couple brought the animal to the store on June 2 so they could pick up food and supplies, according to the agency.

A store employee called the authorities. On the same day, environmental protection officers received an “urgent call” to help locate a “potentially enraged raccoon”. They were able to trace the couple to a location in Attica, Wyoming County. The couple handed over the raccoon and the animal was taken to a veterinary hospital for testing.

Raccoons are protected by law and people are not allowed to own, hunt or trap raccoons without a permit, according to the agency. No licenses are issued for pets.