BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — A woman who brought a wild raccoon into a bar earlier this year will spend a year on probation.
Erin Christensen of Maddock, 38, pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges of providing false information to law enforcement, tampering with evidence and unlawful possession of a live furbearer, reported the Bismarck Tribune.
Northeast District Judge Donovan Foughty gave her a suspended six-month jail sentence and a year on probation. He also ordered her to pay $1,100 in fines and fees.
She faced a maximum sentence of about two years in jail and $7,500 in fines.
According to court documents, Christensen said her family found the raccoon, nicknamed Rocky, on the side of a road and was nursing it back to health when she brought it into the bar on Sept. 6. A bartender said Rocky didn’t get loose nor did he bite anyone, but state health officials still issued a warning about potential rabies exposure.
Authorities arrested Christensen on Sept. 14 after serving several search warrants in and around Maddock to find her and the raccoon. According to court documents, she would not disclose Rocky’s location.
Keeping a wild raccoon as a pet is illegal under state law — as is keeping a bat or skunk because they are known carriers of rabies, according to North Dakota’s Game and Fish website. Authorities ultimately euthanized the racoon, who tested negative for rabies.
Christensen has said Rocky’s fate has left her family traumatized.