Petco employees in Maine were asked to clip an unusual customer’s nails after a woman brought a wild raccoon into the store to have her nails clipped.
The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife shared in a Facebook post that this was not a good idea and was illegal. The agency initially said the woman potentially exposed people to rabies when she brought the mammals to the pet store on Tuesday, May 23.
“It is illegal to keep wildlife in Maine, and Petco does not trim raccoon nails,” the wildlife agency said in a Facebook post, adding that it “potentially exposed myself and others to rabies.”
Authorities said as she waited in the store in Auburn, Maine, people’s curiosity got the best of them and they grabbed the raccoon and some even kissed it.
“Several 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 to leave the store with the raccoon.
The store manager immediately called the Maine Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the Maine Warden Service because officials did not know whether 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 shoppers did not require rabies treatment.
The wildlife agency shared with residents the potential dangers of bringing wild animals indoors, reminding residents to “keep wildlife wild”.
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The agency said raccoons are the most common carriers of rabies in Maine. Rabies is fatal unless treated after exposure.
The agency shared that rabies is transmitted through the saliva or nerve tissue of a rabid animal, and a person can be exposed when the saliva or nerve tissue of a rabid animal comes in contact with a person through a bite or scratch. cuts the skin, or gets into the eyes, nose or mouth.
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Authorities are still searching for the woman who brought the animal to Petco for a pedicure. The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife shared photos of the woman holding the raccoon at the Petco store.
Petco urged residents to contact Maine Warden Services at 1-800-452-4664 if they have any information about the woman depicted in the surveillance video.