Arizona man arrested after rescuing and adopting drowning raccoon
When 57-year-old Stan Morris saw a raccoon drowning in the Colorado River, he decided to put his own health at risk by saving the struggling animal. Seven months later, the good-hearted deed landed Morris in jail.
Before his arrest, Morris and the raccoon he affectionately named "Sonny," had developed quite a bond, according to the Associated Press. Morris told police he first looked online to see if it was against the law to keep a raccoon as a pet. When he didn't find any information telling him otherwise, he decided to adopt Sonny.
Technically, it is legal to keep a raccoon as a pet in Arizona, but an owner must first obtain an exotic animal license or permit. Most states that do allow raccoon ownership recommend adopting one from a professional breeder.
Morris says Sonny became domesticated after being adopted. In fact, Arizona Game and Fish Department officers were only alerted to the situation when reports began surfacing of a man walking around town with a raccoon perched on his shoulders.
A look over the Game and Fish Department website gives the impression that Arizona doesn't care much for raccoons. Not only did the state arrest Morris for keeping Sonny as a pet, but it has a law that states a raccoon, "is the only animal in Arizona that can be legally taken with a firearm at night."
Still, even adopted raccoons have been known to bite owners or strangers who startle them. And some of the concern is for the raccoons themselves, who cannot be returned to the wild once domesticated as a pet. Raccoons typically live 10-15 years, making them a time commitment similar to that of a cat or a dog for any prospective owners
You would think Game and Fish would have better things to do than take pets from people. I think it would be more cost effective for the state to just give the owner some guidlines to keep the raccoon safely instead of putting the man in jail.Leave the jail space free for real criminals.