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The family of a woman in North Dakota who evaded police is raising money after she said local police shot and killed their pet raccoon in relation to a rabies scare.
Erin Christensen, 38, and her family is raising money on GoFundMe to cover legal fees after she was accused of causing a rabies scare at a local bar in Maddock, North Dakota when she brought in her family’s pet raccoon, she wrote on the fundraiser.
The family had been nursing the raccoon, named Rocky, back to health for three months, according to The Bismark Tribune.
According to the fundraiser, Christensen found the animal on the side of the road in June.
“Rocky was found approximately 3 months ago in the evening, he was lonely, scared, hungry, we decided not to engage him because maybe his mom would come to help him, the next day he was still in the same spot, so we took him in,” the family wrote on the fundraiser page.
“We were working very hard to rehabilitate him back into the wild we have bottle fed him, cared for him, he was still being bottle fed when he left and was still learning how to forage food we would place around trees and obstacles,” the family added.
On September 6, police said that Christensen brought Rocky into a local bar in Maddock during happy hour, according to the Tribune.
Cindy Smith, who was bartending at the time, said that there were about ten people in the bar, and Rocky never bit anyone in the five minutes he was inside the bar.
“I saw she was carrying something, and I asked her what it was, and she showed me, and I said, ‘You’ve got to get it out of here,'” Smith told the Tribune. “I had no idea what she was thinking.”
According to the Tribune, the incident prompted the state Health and Human Services Department to issue a warning about potential rabies exposure.
“Rocky never left my arms when I visited the Maddock Bar, so who was at risk of rabies or other diseases?” Christensen stated on GoFundMe.
Christensen was arrested on Wednesday after the Benson County Sheriff’s Office and the North Dakota Game and Fish Department executed a search warrant, according to the Tribune.
Scott Winkelman, the Division Chief of Game and Fish Enforcement, told the Tribune that Christensen tried to evade authorities.
The Benson County Sheriff’s Office did not immediately return Insider’s request for comment on Sunday.
According to the family’s statement on GoFundMe, the authorities promised them that they would quarantine Rocky and let him go as long as he did not show any signs of rabies.
According to the Tribune, authorities raided Christensen’s home in search of Rocky and killed the Raccoon on the spot, taking his carcass to test for diseases.
“The police brought a battering ram to break down the front door of the house where Rocky was being housed at the time of his death,” Christensen said on the GoFundMe. “The amount of manpower used to find and kill Rocky, with simultaneous raids on three different residences, is impressive. A shock-and-awe campaign.”
Rocky tested negative for rabies, according to the statement on GoFundMe.
Christensen was arrested on charges of giving false information to law enforcement and tampering with evidence. She was also given a Game and Fish violation of unlawfully possessing a furbearer, according to the Tribune.
The charges are misdemeanors that together would carry a maximum punishment of several years in jail and fines totaling $7,500, the outlet reported. Christensen is currently free on a $1,500 bond, the Tribune said.
“The impact to my family is that my children are confused and traumatized because of the excessive force that was used during the acquisition of this animal,” Christensen stated on GoFundMe. “This erodes the trust that they have in local law enforcement agencies. My children are devastated and inconsolable.”
The family is raising money on GoFundMe to not only pay for Christensen’s legal fees but also to donate a majority of the money to wildlife rehabilitation centers in memory of Rocky.
“Rocky was just a few months old, he was the sweetest, most loving little boy ever who everyone loved, there was never a dull moment being around him, he was so dang smart and always happy,” she said on the GoFundMe.