Woman Who Brought Raccoon to North Dakota Bar Faces Up to Two Years in JailErin Christensen, 38, is charged with a series of misdemeanors following the incident, including counts of tampering with physical evidence, providing false information to law enforcement and unlawful possession of furbearers

By Main Street Sentinel Staff

A North Dakota woman who brought a wild raccoon into a local bar is now facing a string of criminal charges.

Erin Christensen, 38, of Maddock, North Dakota, is charged with misdemeanor counts of tampering with physical evidence, providing false information to law enforcement, and unlawful possession of furbearers. Maddock is a town of about 500 people located less than one hundred miles from the Canadian border.

Christensen took the racoon, which she had named Rocky, to Maddock Bar during happy hour on Sept. 6 and showed the raccoon to customers. Bartender Cindy Smith said the animal never bit anyone at the bar.

Even so, North Dakota’s Health and Human Services Department issued a warning asking anyone who may have been bitten or had contact with the raccoon’s saliva to seek medical care.

Christensen was arrested when authorities found her and the raccoon, after serving several search warrants in and around Maddock.

Christensen claimed that her family found the raccoon on the side of a road approximately three months before her arrest. She noted they were in the process of nursing the animal back to health, and had plans to release it back into the wild once it was healthy.

According to North Dakota Board of Animal Health laws, it’s to keep a wild raccoon. Authorities euthanized the animal, and it tested negative for rabies.

“It’s unfair and too much was done to detain an innocent raccoon,” Christensen told the Bismarck Tribune. “They were not worried about the health of us if we had rabies or not. They were worried about finding and killing Rocky and putting me behind bars.”

The charges against Christensen carry a maximum punishment of approximately two years in jail and $7,500 in fines.