@NCCapitol

@NCCapitol

Possum bill scurries toward Senate

Posted February 13, 2013

Clay’s Corner is the little store in Brasstown, Clay County, that’s become the center of controversy for lowering a live opossum in a cage from a pole on New Year’s Eve. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals mounted a legal challenge this year against the practice. But owner Clay Logan and his buddies say they don’t mean any harm. In fact, he’ll feed anyone who walks in the door, and he’ll play them some good old music – just as long as they’re not with PETA.

— With a minimum of debate, House lawmakers gave final approval Wednesday to House Bill 66, a proposal that would change state law to allow Brasstown's New Year's Possum Drop to carry on.

On its third reading, Rep. Verla Insko, D-Orange, tried to amend the bill to get rid of vague wording that, some say, could permit "cruelty to animals and misuse of animals." That amendment failed 80-37. 

Rep. Paul Luebke, D-Durham, remarked that he "never heard the word possum" in the House debate Tuesday.

"Is this the possum bill?” he asked sponsor Rep. Roger West, R-Cherokee, who represents Brasstown.

"Well, it’ll affect the possum, along with a lot of other things too,” West responded.

"But this bill is the result of a lawsuit that’s been in our newspapers?" Luebke prodded.

"Yes, the possum is part of the lawsuit," West said, "but that lawsuit affects a lot of other animals, too, that are in captivity at the zoo and everything else."

Shortly afterward, West refused to answer further questions about the measure.

The bill passed its final House vote, 98-20. It now goes to the Senate.

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