- Erin Christensen was arrested after bringing her raccoon to a bar, according to The Bismark Tribune.
- Authorities raided Christensen’s home and killed the raccoon on the spot, recovering his body to test for diseases, she said.
- The family held a fundraiser to pay Christensen’s legal fees and donate to a wildlife rehabilitation center.
The family of a North Dakota woman who escaped police are raising money after they say local police shot and killed her pet raccoon due to a rabies scare.
Erin Christensen, 38, and her family are raising money on GoFundMe to cover legal costs after she was accused of causing a rabies scare at a local bar in Maddock, North Dakota, when she brought her family’s raccoon, she wrote about the fundraiser.
The family had been nursing the raccoon, named Rocky, to health for three months, according to The Bismark Tribune.
According to the fundraiser, Christensen found the animal on the side of the road in June.
“Rocky was found about 3 months ago in the evening, he was alone, scared, hungry, we decided not to hire him because maybe his mum would come and help him, the next day he was still at home. same place, so we took him,” the family wrote on the fundraising page.
“We were working very hard to get him back into the wild, we bottle fed him, looked after him, he was still bottle fed when he left and was still learning to look for food which we placed around the trees and obstacles,” the family added.
On Sept. 6, police said Christensen brought Rocky to a local bar in Maddock during happy hour, according to the Tribune.
Cindy Smith, who was a bartender at the time, said there were about ten people in the bar, and Rocky never bit anyone in the five minutes he was inside the bar.
“I saw she was wearing something, and I asked her what it was, and she showed me, and I said, ‘You have to get it out of here,'” Smith said. at the Tribune. “I had no idea what she was thinking.”
According to the Tribune, the incident prompted the state Department of Health and Human Services to issue a warning about potential rabies exposure.
“Rocky never left my arms when I visited Maddock Bar, so who was at risk for rabies or other illnesses?” Christensen said on GoFundMe.
Christensen was arrested on Wednesday after the Benson County Sheriff’s Office and the North Dakota Department of Game and Fish executed a search warrant, according to the Tribune.
Scott Winkelman, the game and fish control division chief, told the Tribune that Christensen tried to evade authorities.
The Benson County Sheriff’s Office did not immediately return Insider’s request for comment on Sunday.
According to the family’s statement on GoFundMe, authorities have promised to quarantine Rocky and let him go as long as he shows no signs of rage.
According to the Tribune, authorities raided Christensen’s home looking for Rocky and killed the raccoon on the spot, taking his carcass away to test for diseases.
“Police brought in a battering ram to break down the front door of the house where Rocky was staying at the time of his death,” Christensen said on GoFundMe. “The amount of manpower used to find and kill Rocky, with simultaneous raids on three different residences, is impressive. A campaign of shock and awe.”
Rocky tested negative for rabies, according to the statement on GoFundMe.
Christensen was arrested for providing false information to law enforcement and tampering with evidence. According to the Tribune, she also received a violation from Game and Fish for unlawful possession of a furry animal.
The charges are misdemeanors that together would carry a maximum sentence of several years in prison and fines totaling $7,500, the outlet reported. Christensen is currently free on a $1,500 bond, the Tribune said.
“The impact on my family is that my children are confused and traumatized because of the excessive force that was used in acquiring this animal,” Christensen said on GoFundMe. “It erodes the trust they have in local law enforcement. My children are devastated and inconsolable.”
The family is raising money on GoFundMe to not only pay for Christensen’s legal fees, but also to donate the majority of the money to wildlife rehabilitation centers in Rocky’s memory.
“Rocky was only a few months old, he was the sweetest, most loving little boy everyone loved, there was never a dull moment around him, he was so smart and always happy “, she said on GoFundMe.