A raccoon in New York was punished by death for the high crime of living as a pet. Its cover was blown after its bright humans brought it along to buy food at a pet store, where it was spotted by a worker who called authorities.
Although New York's Department of Conservation claims that "raccoons are protected by law," they also warn that "raccoons as pets may be harmful to both humans and raccoons." In this case, being a "raccoon as pet" was harmful only to the raccoon, who was euthanized. The humans, on the other hand, who gave the raccoon no choice in the matter, were simply fined $500 each.
The officer used store surveillance video, a store-issued rewards card and license plate information to locate the couple in the town of Attica in western New York, the department said. The owners turned the raccoon over and were each charged with unlawfully possessing a wild animal, which is subject to $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.