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Raccoon euthanized after woman took creature to Maine Petco



May 26, 2023 | 21:21

Authorities in Maine euthanized a raccoon after a woman brought the potentially rabies-infected pet into a Petco to get its nails trimmed and allowed several strangers to kiss it.

The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife said Friday that the animal tested negative for rabies, a process that requires the animal to be put down.

The agency had been searching for the kit and its owner since Tuesday afternoon after suspecting it carried the deadly disease.

The woman — whose identity was not released — carried the baby animal into the Auburn store to get its nails trimmed, according to the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife.

“While waiting, many different people handled the raccoon and some even kissed it,” the agency said.

When the store manager realized the wild animal was inside the pet store, they kicked the woman out and immediately contacted state health and animal control.

“It is illegal to possess wildlife in Maine and Petco does not trim raccoon nails,” the department added.

Authorities euthanized the kit to test it for rabies, only to find the animal was healthy.
Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife/Facebook

The agency did not say whether the animal had shown any signs of the disease — characterized by excessive salivation and aggressive behavior — but was concerned it was a carrier because of its species.

Raccoons, along with skunks, bats and foxes, are the most common carriers of rabies in Maine, according to the state’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The disease is spread through the saliva of an infected animal – worrying authorities that those who kissed the kit could have been exposed.

Raccoons are one of the most common carriers of rabies in Maine, according to the state’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Getty Images

“The raccoon tested negative for rabies, so those who came into contact with the raccoon at Petco do not need to seek treatment,” the agency said in an update.

“Animals submitted for testing must be euthanized,” Maine’s testing guidelines state.

“The (Health and Environmental Testing Laboratory) requests that animals be decapitated by a veterinarian or trained personnel.”

DIFW did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

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