A New York couple is facing a fine for keeping a wild raccoon as a pet. The unidentified couple was busted after they brought the animal to a pet food store in Erie County. The New York Department of Environmental Conservation said that a worker at the store contacted authorities to report the potentially rabid raccoon.
Investigators used information from the couple’s store-issued rewards card and their license plate to track them down. Authorities went to their home and convinced them to turn over the raccoon, which was taken to a veterinarian for rabies testing. Officials said the test results came back negative.
The couple was charged with unlawfully possessing the raccoon, and each face a fine of $500.
Officials reminded people it is illegal to keep wild animals as pets and warned that doing so can be dangerous.
“DEC urges the public to leave wild animals alone. Possessing wild animals is not only unlawful, doing so can be deadly. Once a rabies infection is established, there’s no effective treatment,” the department said in a news release.