Repeal North Carolina’s ‘Be Cruel To Opossums’ Law
Jim — You may be familiar with the famous New Year’s Eve ball drop in New York City. But every New Year’s Eve, the city of Andrew, North Carolina captures a terrified possum and drops it from a roof while onlookers cheer. Opossums are shy, nocturnal animals. They keep both people and their gardens safe by eating harmful ticks. The North Carolina State House of Representatives has even cosigned this annual “possum drop” by suspending wildlife laws between December 29 and January 2. A group of animal lovers is asking for this law to be repealed. They and the opossums need your help to stop this cruel tradition today.
Animal Help Now started this petition to North Carolina General Assembly Members and it now has 148,711 signatures

End State-Sanctioned Opossum Abuse in North Carolina

Several years ago, the North Carolina General Assembly passed a statute that allows opossums to be abused for five days surrounding the New Year, all for the purpose of entertainment at a New Year’s Eve “Possum Drop.” A majority of General Assembly members approved House Bill 574 (2015) without granting the public the right to comment on it.

North Carolina General Statute § 113-291.13 Application of wildlife laws to opossums reads, “No State or local statutes, rules, regulations, or ordinances related to the capture, captivity, treatment, or release of wildlife shall apply to the Virginia opossum (Didelphis virginiana) between the dates of December 29 of each year and January 2 of each subsequent year.”

The statute goes beyond allowing “possum drops” in the state; it allows anyone in North Carolina to legally abuse opossums. Gaining increasing national attention, the statute is an embarrassment to its residents and jeopardizes the state’s tourism industry.

The entertainment of a few hundred people for a couple of hours is inadequate justification for stripping the benign and beneficial opossum of all protections afforded by state and local laws that have been in place for decades. The potential for cruel treatment of opossums is limitless and unethical. North Carolina must repeal the statute.

Millie, the opossum used in the 2018 Andrews, NC “drop,” was taken from her home in the wild. During her capture, she suffered a serious leg injury that became so infected, it could be smelled from a distance during the New Year’s Eve event. Millie dangled in a plexiglass box above a noisy crowd, band and fireworks. This stress is enough to cause serious illnesses among shy, gentle animals such as opossums. For a few hours of entertainment, Millie was tormented and eventually had to have her leg amputated. The disability is so severe that she can never go home. This can never happen again.

We, the undersigned, call on the otherwise intelligent and compassionate North Carolina General Assembly members to sponsor a bill in the 2019 Session to repeal N.C.G.S. § 113-291.13 (2015).

4 thoughts on “Repeal North Carolina’s ‘Be Cruel To Opossums’ Law

  1. Put one of the drunken revelers in there for New Years. At least they’ll understand what is happening to them. (for the most part).

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