Maine woman brings raccoon to Petco for unconventional pet spa experience
There was initial concern that the raccoon potentially had rabies and customers were kissing the wild mammal
Petco employees in Maine were asked to clip an unusual customer's nails after a woman brought a wild raccoon into the store to get its nails clipped.
The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife shared in a Facebook post that this was not a good idea and illegal. The agency initially said that the woman potentially exposed people to rabies when she brought the mammals into the pet store on Tuesday, May 23.
"It is illegal to possess wildlife in Maine, and Petco does not trim raccoon nails," the wildlife agency said in a Facebook post, noting she "potentially exposed herself and others to rabies."
While she waited in the store in Auburn, Maine, people's curiosity got the best of them, and they held the raccoon with some even kissing it, officials said.
"Many different people handled the raccoon and some even kissed it," officials said.
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Eventually, the store manager caught wind of the wild raccoon and asked the unidentified woman with the raccoon to leave the store.
The store manager promptly called the Maine Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the Maine Warden Service since officials did not know if the raccoon had exposed unsuspecting shoppers to rabies.
In an update on Friday, May 26, the agency shared that the furry friend tested negative for rabies and the shoppers did not need to seek rabies treatment.
The wildlife agency shared with residents the potential dangers of bringing a wild animals indoors, reminding residents to "keep wildlife wild."
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Raccoons are one of the most common carriers of rabies in Maine, the agency said. Rabies is lethal unless treated after exposure.
The agency shared that rabies is spread through a rabid animal’s saliva or neural tissue, and a person can be exposed when that saliva or neural tissue of the rabid animal comes in contact with a person through a bite or scratch, cut in the skin, or gets into the eyes, nose, or mouth.
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Authorities are still looking for the woman who brought the animal to get a pedicure at Petco. The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife shared images of the woman clutching the raccoon in the Petco store.
Petco urged residents to contact the Maine Warden Service at 1-800-452-4664 if they have any information regarding the woman pictured in the surveillance video.