- Erin Christensen was arrested after bringing a pet raccoon into a bar, the Bismarck Tribune reported.
- Authorities raided Christensen’s home, killed the raccoon on the spot, and collected his body to test for disease, she said.
- The family set up a fundraiser to pay Christensen’s attorneys’ fees and donate to the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center.
The family of a North Dakota woman who evaded police said she was raising money after local police shot and killed their pet raccoon in a rabies scare.
Erin Christensen, 38, and her family are raising money on GoFundMe to pay legal bills after she was accused of bringing her family’s pet at a local bar in Maddock, North Dakota Rabies scare caused by raccoons, she wrote at the fundraiser.
According to the Bismarck Tribune, the family has been caring for the raccoon, named Rocky, for three months to bring it back to health.
According to the fundraiser, Christensen spotted the animal on the side of the road in June.
“Rocky was found about 3 months ago night, he was lonely, scared, hungry, we decided not to hire him because maybe his mum would come to help him and he was in the same place the next day, so we Take him in,” the family wrote on the fundraiser’s page.
“We worked really hard to get him back into the wild, we bottle fed him, cared for him, he left still bottle fed him and was still learning how to find food around trees and obstacles,” the family added.
On September 6, police said Christensen took Rocky to a local bar in Maddock during happy hour, the Tribune reported.
Cindy Smith, who was bartending at the time, said there were about ten people in the bar and Rocky never bit anyone in the five minutes he was there.
“I saw something she was carrying, I asked her what it was, she showed me and I said, ‘You have to get it out of here,'” Smith told the Tribune. “I don’t know what she’s thinking.”
The incident prompted the state Department of Health and Human Services to issue a warning about potential rabies exposure, the Tribune reported.
“Rocky never left my arm when I visited Maddock, so who’s at risk for rabies or something else?” Christensen said on GoFundMe.
Christensen was arrested Wednesday after executing a search warrant at the Benson County Sheriff’s Office and the North Dakota Department of Hunting and Fisheries, the Tribune reported.
Scott Winkelman, head of hunting and fish enforcement, told the Tribune that Christensen was trying to evade authorities.
The Benson County Sheriff’s Office did not immediately respond to an insider’s request for comment on Sunday.
According to the family’s statement on GoFundMe, authorities promised them that as long as Loki didn’t show any signs of rabies, they would isolate him and let him go.
Authorities raided Christensen’s home in search of Loki and killed the raccoon on the spot, taking his body to test for disease, the Tribune reported.
“The police brought a battering ram and broke the front door of the house where Rocky died,” Christensen said on GoFundMe. “The amount of manpower used to find and kill Rocky while raiding three different Impressive. A shocking and awe-inspiring battle.”
According to the statement on GoFundMe, Loki tested negative for rabies.
Christensen was arrested on charges of providing false information to law enforcement and tampering with evidence. She was also charged with game and fishing violations for illegally possessing fur people, the Tribune reported.
According to media reports, the charges are misdemeanors that carry up to several years in prison and a total of $7,500 in fines. The Tribune said Christensen is currently free on a $1,500 bond.
“The impact on my family is that my children are confused and traumatized by the excessive force used in obtaining this animal,” Christensen said on GoFundMe. Institutional trust. My children are heartbroken and heartbroken.”
The family is raising money on GoFundMe not only to cover Christensen’s legal bills, but to donate much of the money to a wildlife rehabilitation center in Rocky’s memory.
“Rocky is only a few months old, he’s the cutest, most loving little boy everyone loves, there’s never a dull moment around him, he’s so smart and always happy,” she tweeted on GoFundMe Say.