MADDOCK, ND ( Associated Press) — A woman who brought a wild raccoon to a North Dakota bar, prompting authorities to issue a warning about the possibility of rabies, is facing criminal charges.
Erin Christensen, 38, of Maddock, has been charged with providing false information to law enforcement officers, tampering with physical evidence, and illegal possession of fur animals.
Officers arrested Christensen last week after executing multiple search warrants in and around Maddock.
Christensen said his family found a raccoon on the side of the road about three months ago and named him Rocky. They said that they are taking care of the animal till they return it to the forest.
Keeping wild raccoons is illegal under North Dakota law. Authorities euthanized the animal and conducted tests to determine if it had rabies.
Christensen took Ricky to the Maddock Bar on September 6 and showed him for dinner. Barista Cindy Smith said the animal didn’t bite anyone at the bar.
However, the North Dakota Department of Health issued a warning asking to see a doctor anyone who was bitten or exposed to raccoon saliva.
“It is unfair how little has been done to stop an innocent raccoon,” Christensen said in a statement to the Bismarck Tribune on Wednesday. “They weren’t worried about us, whether we had rabies or not. They were concerned about finding and killing Rocky and putting me behind bars.”
The charges against Christensen carry a maximum jail term of two years and a fine of $7,500. He was to appear in the preliminary court on Monday.