Woman arrested for taking raccoon into a bar, officials say

Erin Christensen, 38, was charged for ND Game & Fish violations, tampering with evidence and...
Erin Christensen, 38, was charged for ND Game & Fish violations, tampering with evidence and providing false information to law enforcement.(Lake Region Correctional Facility)
Published: Sep. 15, 2022 at 1:50 PM MDT
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MADDOCK, N.D. (KVLY/Gray News) – A woman was arrested after walking into a bar in North Dakota carrying a raccoon, according to the Benson County Sheriff’s Office.

Erin Christensen, 38, was charged with North Dakota Game and Fish violations, tampering with evidence and providing false information to law enforcement. According to the sheriff’s office, the animal was put down and will be tested for rabies and other diseases.

Bartender Cindy Smith said she was serving drinks at the bar last week when Christensen brought in the animal during happy hour. There were about 10 people in the establishment at the time, she said.

Smith said she immediately asked the woman to leave but instead she took the raccoon around the bar to show another customer. The woman eventually left with the animal after about five minutes.

Smith said the raccoon never left Christensen’s arms and didn’t bite anyone.

Christensen said her family found the raccoon three months ago and had been caring for it ever since.

Health officials issued a warning to those who had contact with the animal about possible rabies exposure and asked anyone who may have been bitten or had contact with the raccoon’s saliva to seek medical care.

Six rabid animals have been reported in North Dakota this year, including two bats, two cats, one bovine and one skunk.