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Possum issue heads back to court

Posted June 12, 2015
Updated June 13, 2015

A possum is lowered in a plastic box as part of the New Year's Eve Possum Drop in Brasstown, N.C.

— As expected, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has sued to ​stop a new law meant to allow a general store owner in western North Carolina from dropping – or at least slowly lowering to the ground – a possum on New Year's Eve.

Gov. Pat McCrory on Thursday signed into a law a bill that would exempt possums from state and local wildlife laws for a five-day period around Jan. 1. It is the latest in a series of efforts dealing with possums reaching back to 2012. That's when a state court judge ruled that Clay Logan, the proprietor of Clay's Corner in Brasstown, could no longer capture a possum, put it in a plastic box and lower it like the crystal ball in New York's Times Square or the acorn in downtown Raleigh as a way of ringing in the new year.

"Legalizing the cruel Opossum Drop by legalizing all conduct with opossums is both a dramatic overreach and an embarrassing example of political cronyism," PETA lawyer Jeffrey Kerr said in a statement. "PETA will continue to fight for the right of gentle opossums to be left in peace."

Kerr described the possum bill as "vague nonsense produced by the state legislature."

PETA has argued in the past that the loud cheers, fireworks and other noise likely traumatize the possum. Backers of the drop say the animal is well cared for during its captivity and released shortly after its service to the festivities.

In 2014, PETA argued that a similar law that applied just to Clay County created a "zone of lawlessness" for possums, and a state court agreed it likely was not constitutional.

PETA's latest lawsuit, filed in Wake County on Friday, seeks an injunction against the law for being overly vague.

11 Comments

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  • Melissa Noderer Jun 17, 2015
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    Isn't it ironic that Gov McGrory is against puppy mills, yet he doesn't see anything wrong in a New Year's celebration opossum drop?
    I have an idea: round up everyone who voted for this legislation, including the Gov. Over the five days when the opossum drop is permitted, cage those legislative rascals and drop them. One by one, over the course of five days. I wouldn't be in favor of "or at least slowly lowering to the ground". I'd drop em fast! This could be a huge economic uptick for the town of Brasstown. The legislators would be "well cared for during its captivity and released shortly after its service to the festivities."

  • Anthony Snark Jun 16, 2015
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    View quoted thread


    It is what they do, what is the excuse of the legislature? Do they not have anything more pressing to do? I think they do.

  • Pat Demby Jun 15, 2015
    user avatar

    Glad to see this is the most pressing issue PETA has to deal with. Or maybe they want to marginalize themselves further?

  • Anthony Snark Jun 15, 2015
    user avatar

    I hear banjo music.

  • Roy Hinkley Jun 15, 2015
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    View quoted thread



    Possum Thunderdome....two possum enter, one possum leaves.

  • Teresa Engel Jun 15, 2015
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    Yes, I pictured the same thing. Except now, the little opossum delinquents will be charged with felonies if the spray paint graffiti. It's a sad time to be a opossum in North Carolina.

  • Ed McKim Jun 15, 2015
    user avatar

    Kerr described the possum bill as "vague nonsense produced by the state legislature."

    that seems to be their specialty these days

  • Scott Mace Jun 13, 2015
    user avatar

    " Clay County created a "zone of lawlessness" for possum"

    I just had an image in my mind, of roving bands of young possums roaming the streets drinking beer, defacing road signs, spraying graffiti on the water tower, and other general mischief...

  • Paul Maxwell Jun 13, 2015
    user avatar

    Gotta love all these 'JOBS' bills the fine folks on Jones Street are so busy passing.
    Is it Nov. 2016 yet?

  • Linda Goodwin Jun 12, 2015
    user avatar

    I'm not a big fan of PETA , but they've got this one right. This ridiculous law makes NC look like hick country! When will this state stop moving backwards to the Dark Ages. Go get 'em PETA!

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