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Raccoon put down, woman arrested after visit to North Dakota bar

Erin Christensen, 38, of Maddock was taken into custody on suspicion of providing false information to law enforcement, tampering with evidence and North Dakota Game & Fish violations, the Benson County Sheriff's Office said in a statement.

1024px-Raccoon_(Procyon_lotor)_2.jpg
Erin Christensen.
Lake Region Correctional Facility photo
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MADDOCK, N.D. — A 38-year-old woman was arrested Wednesday, Sept. 14, after reportedly bringing a raccoon into the Maddock city bar and prompting North Dakota officials to issue a warning about possible rabies infections .

Erin Christensen of Maddock was taken into custody on suspicion of providing false information to law enforcement, tampering with evidence and North Dakota Game & Fish violations, the Benson County Sheriff's Office said in a statement.

The Game & Fish Department helped with the investigation and execution of several search warrants in the Maddock area.

The raccoon was put down and taken to be tested for rabies and other diseases, the sheriff's office said.

Christensen reportedly brought the raccoon into the Maddock Bar the night of Tuesday, Sept. 6.

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"A local girl came in, and she had been drinking," Cindy Smith, a bar manager, told The Forum. Tucked under her arms was the raccoon in question.

Bar management immediately told the woman that she had to leave, and she proceeded to show a few bar patrons the raccoon before Smith was able to corral her out the door, Smith said.

Smith said she heard the woman found the raccoon as a baby on the side of the road, nearly dead.

The raccoon never touched the floor or another customer, according to Smith. She said the animal "definitely didn't bite anyone."

Christensen's bond was set at $1,500, jail records showed. She bailed out of the Lake Region Correctional Center in Devils Lake on Thursday morning, according to jail staff.

Christensen had not been formally charged as of Thursday afternoon. The Forum's attempts to reach her by phone were unsuccessful.

Rabies, a viral infection, affects mammals, including humans. The virus circulates in wild animals in the U.S. and is most commonly found in bats, raccoons, skunks, coyotes and foxes.

Rabid wildlife can spread rabies to unvaccinated cats, dogs and farm animals, which can then infect people.

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Maddock is a town with a population of about 500 in northeast North Dakota.

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