State News

Judge declines to halt New Year's Eve Possum Drop

Posted December 23, 2013

— The annual Possum Drop will go on as scheduled next week after a Superior Court judge on Monday declined to halt the New Year's Eve event in Brasstown.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has sued to stop the Clay County town's celebration, saying it's cruel to lower a possum in a plastic box at midnight.

PETA won a similar lawsuit a year ago when an administrative law judge ruled that the state Wildlife Resources Commission lacked the authority to issue a permit for the event. So, the General Assembly passed a law in March allowing licensed sportsmen to hold animals for display as long as they are returned to the wild after the event.

The Wildlife Resources Commission issued a permit Friday allowing Clay Logan, the organizer of the Possum Drop, to capture an animal for the event.

"Mr. Logan knows nothing about how to properly care for an opossum," PETA lawyer Martina Bernstein argued, noting the the lights, noise and crowd of people can harm the health of the nocturnal marsupial.

"This is not a condition that a wild opossum by nature can withstand," Bernstein said.

Assistant Attorney General Tamara Zmuda maintained that PETA was engaging in a "what-if game," saying the permit was issued according to the law and that the Wildlife Resources Commission cannot deny him a permit because something bad might happen to the possum.

Judge Allen Baddour said its sounded like PETA wanted to prohibit anyone from capturing an opossum under the law, but Bernstein the group favors captivity as long as it's in "the humane interests of the animal."

Baddour said next Tuesday night's Possum Drop might provide it with enough evidence to win its lawsuit, but he said he wouldn't block the event at such an early stage in the legal challenge.

Logan said he was thrilled with the ruling, noting the Possum Drop is celebrating its 20th year and continues to generate recognition for Brasstown.

There is a good chance, however, that people attending the Possum Drop might not actually see the featured animal this year.

One condition of the state permit requires that the possum be in a box the size of a coffin, replete with a den where the animal can hide if it gets scared. Violating the conditions of the permit could mean penalties for Logan.

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  • Let-it-be-said Dec 24, 2013

    Why is this a story? I kill possums every chance I get, who cares if one is dropped in a box for New Years?

  • silkesmom Dec 24, 2013

    Legal or not, it is a mean thing to do and people should know better.

  • GravyPig Dec 24, 2013

    "Also, they are not DROPPING him in a box - they are LOWERING him to the ground. Big whoppie!!"

    So are you saying that if someone snatched you out of bed, stuffed you in a box and lowered you down in front of a bunch of lights, and sounds that are alien to you that you wouldn't be all that concerned for your safety? Very interesting.

  • scubagirl2 Dec 24, 2013

    PETA needs a real life and they need to let this go. They LOST and need to take their toys and go home!

  • Prayer starts with P Dec 23, 2013

    another example of an activist judge legislating from the bench!! I WANT MY CONSTITUTION BACK!!!!

  • luvstoQ Dec 23, 2013

    PETA is PATHETIC!!

    I really feel sorry for you that you have nothing in life to think of more important than meddling in other people's business concerning a 'possum' of all things. They aren't even worth a 'dime a dozen' where I come from. In fact, they are next to 'worthless' because of the damage they can do on a farm.

    Also, they are not DROPPING him in a box - they are LOWERING him to the ground. Big whoppie!!

  • stymieindurham Dec 23, 2013

    The Romans didn't have the likes of PETA, ACLU, barber, SEIU, Hoffa, Schumer, etc. . . . . . .

  • disgusted2010 Dec 23, 2013

    What has this country come to. Wasting money and resources on a possum when people are going hungry. I wonder if the Romans worried about such things as their empire was circling the toilet.

  • GravyPig Dec 23, 2013

    Say, can we snatch Clay Logan up fom his home, stuff him in a box, lower him at midnight over a crowd of folks who speak something other than english adn ask him how he likes it?

    It's the same thing, and I'm sure Mr. Logan would not enjoy it.

  • no contest Dec 23, 2013

    THANK YOU Judge Allen Baddour for some common sense.

    PETA, please go back to your parents basements and gnaw on some veggies.

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