NORWICH, N.Y. (WBNG) — State environmental officials say they seized multiple raccoons that people in Chenango County were keeping as pets.
Officers from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation executed a search warrant in Norwich on Jan. 23. after receiving reports of people harboring the raccoons.
Upon investigation, officers say there were 13 people, including children, living in a home where the raccoons had been kept, but had since been sold to another resident in Norwich.
The officers went to the second location, where the two raccoons were voluntarily handed over.
According to the DEC, the new owner said they had been bitten by one of the animals.
The person was recommended to see a doctor immediately. The Chenango County Department of Health is determining if anyone who was exposed to the raccoons will need to have rabies shots.
The raccoons were taken to a local veterinarian to be euthanized and tested for rabies.
The incident is under investigation. Whether charges will be filed will be determined when the investigation is complete.
The DEC is reminding people to keep wild animals in the wild and that many problems can occur if people take in wild animals.
“The possession of live, wild raccoons is both a violation of state law and a health hazard, as raccoons are a rabies vector species,” the DEC noted in a press release.
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PHOTO COURTESY: NEW YORK STATE DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION