McKINNEY (AP) - One of the most popular attractions at a McKinney wildlife sanctuary has been at the center of a controversy over whether it should live or die.
Now a judge has issued a ruling over whether Roscoe the raccoon should be put to death for biting a handler at the Heard Museum.
Carissa Braun was conducting a health examination on the four-year-old raccoon named Roscoe last month.
“It was a playful bite no aggression but still he ended up getting my finger, says Carissa Braun, Assistant Curator.
Braun handles Roscoe and other wild animals that are on display at the Heard Museum in McKinney.
When she went to the doctor, the staff at the wildlife center got a call from animal control.
“A couple days later they did seize Roscoe for euthanasia,” says Michele Dudas, Museum Curator.
A state law requires wild animals to be destroyed and tested for rabies if they bite.
But this was no ordinary wild animal, this was Roscoe.
“He’s trained to go on one of his perches one of those logs you see there and come up and stretch out
for health inspections and people come to see Roscoe because he’s so unique,” says Dudas.
He’s also regularly vaccinated for rabies and his handler even underwent anti-rabies injections to convince a judge to spare the animal’s life.
It worked and after weeks in quarantine Roscoe is back in the cage he calls home.
“He literally busted out of his crate,” says Dudas, “It is wonderful Roscoe has his own fan club and he has been one of our most valuable education ambassador.”
Roscoe is the first wild animal anyone at the museum knows of to be spared euthanasia after biting a human and now he’s become a symbol of why the law should be changed.
“I think what the Heard Museum would like to see is that the law is looked at again,” says Dudas.
Its unlikely from his playful nature that Roscoe knows just how close to death he came or how lucky he is to have handlers who cared enough to save his life.
If you would like to visit Roscoe and dozens of other wild animals on display at the museum its open to the public Tuesday through Saturday from 9-5 and Sundays from 1-5.
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