Gov't Confiscates Family Pet to Use as "Educational Animal"
A raccoon may be an unusual pet, but for the Greer family of West Seattle, Washington, Mae the raccoon was part of their family.
In fact, the Greers were licensed to have her and kept her as a pet for seven years, all with a permit from an animal rehabilitation center. However, when the center shut down, the state decided that the Greer’s couldn’t keep Mae and instead confiscated her to use as an “educational animal.”
And even though the Greers took West Seattle to court over it, Mae isn’t coming home anytime soon. According to KING-TV, a judge ruled at a hearing Friday that she’ll stay in “animal rehab” for the time being.
“The animal at issue here, really the property at issue here, is very unique,” Adam Karp, the family’s attorney, told the court.
KING reported that “Mae was a regular part of the Greer family for seven years. They found Mae as a newborn at a nearby park. They tried calling all available wildlife rehab centers to no avail. No one would take Mae.
“According to the lawsuit, Wolftown on Vashon Island agreed to let the Greers become a ‘subpermitee’ if they agreed to follow rules like keeping Mae on a leash when outside and building an outdoor enclosure,” KING reported.
And thus they did. However, Wolftown on Vashon Island closed in 2013, according to the lawsuit, which means the permit is no longer valid. Thus, in December, officials with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife showed up to confiscate Mae, who they apparently intend to use as an “education animal.” Just in case you’ve never seen a raccoon or a picture of one, I guess.
The Greers’ lawsuit not only argues that Mae is the property of the Greers, but that Department of Fish and Wildlife officials had encounters with the Greer family in the past after the validity of the permit had lapsed and never moved to confiscate the animal.
The state, for its part, says that it’s illegal for citizens to possess wildlife, even though Mae was once licensed to the Greers and led a considerably better existence with the family than she does in state custody.
“For most every time the Greers went camping with Mae during white-tailed deer season in October/November from 2010 through 2016, inclusive, WDFW game wardens observed the Greers with Mae when asking them to produce tags for fish and wildlife taken during those trips,” the lawsuit reads.
“Instead of citing, threatening to cite, warning, or otherwise admonishing the Greers against keeping her, the wardens fawned over her, took pictures with her, and, thus, encouraged the Greers to continue keeping the clearly tamed and human-friendly raccoon. When at the campground, Mae was in a harness and always under control, never constituting a nuisance.”
With the Department of Fish and Wildlife, Mae’s life is a far cry from how she lived with the Greers.
“Where she is, now, is utterly unlike where she was for seven years,” Karp said. “She was in a home with my clients, with their cats, walked on a leash on a harness, taken camping, traveling throughout the state. That’s not what she has now. Her life now is in a cage. I don’t know the size of it, but she’s in a cage, isolated with no human interaction with people who know her.”
Right. But she’s being educational.
The Greers, for their part, are beside themselves over the fate of their beloved raccoon.
“Why do they want Mae so bad? I don’t get it,” Chris Greer told reporters.
“I feel like she’s at a roadside zoo,” Kellie Greer said.
Unfortunately, according to the Seattle Times, Judge Carol Murphy ruled that Mae must remain in the possession of the state until the merits of the lawsuit are resolved. Let’s hope sanity prevails and that Mae is soon home where she belongs.
H/T The Olympian
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