UPDATE: Woman arrested after releasing raccoon in ND bar

Published: Sep. 15, 2022 at 10:37 AM CDT
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MADDOCK, N.D. (Valley News Live) — UPDATE: Erin Christensen, owner of the raccoon, says her family found the raccoon three months ago, and they had been caring for it ever since.

She says her family is torn apart by the loss.


ORIGINAL STORY: A woman has been arrested after a witnesses saw her carrying a raccoon into a North Dakota bar.

According to AP, Bartender Cindy Smith said she was serving drinks at the Maddock Bar last week when a local resident brought in the animal during happy hour. There were about 10 people in the saloon at the time, she said.

Smith said she immediately asked the woman to leave but instead she took the raccoon around the bar to show another customer. The woman eventually departed with the animal after about five minutes. Smith says the raccoon never left the woman’s arms and didn’t bite anyone.

38 year old Erin Christensen, of Maddock, ND, has been taken into custody pending formal charges of False Information to LE, Tampering with evidence, as well as ND Game & Fish violations.

The raccoon was put down and transported to be tested for rabies and other diseases.

Maddock is town of about 500 people located about 85 miles from the Canadian border.

Health officials issued a warning to those who had contact with the animal about possible rabies exposure. Rabies is a viral infection that affects mammals, including humans. In an alert issued Tuesday, North Dakota’s Health and Human Services Department is asking anyone who may have been bitten or had contact with the raccoon’s saliva to seek medical care.

Six rabid animals have been reported in North Dakota this year, including two bats, two cats, one bovine and one skunk.