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NC lawmakers try again to write bill that lets New Year observance with live opossum continue

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RALEIGH, North Carolina — North Carolina lawmakers are again writing legislation they hope will let a Clay County community keep using a live, wild opossum during a New Year's Eve observance and overcome litigation trying to stop it.

The House voted Wednesday to exempt opossums from state wildlife laws during a five-day stretch around each new year.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals says the annual Possum Drop in Brasstown is traumatizing to the animal. The captured opossum is lowered at midnight in a tinsel-covered box.

PETA has filed legal complaints to block a similar exemption approved last year by the General Assembly for Clay County only.

The bill passed 94-18 before going to the Senate. It's a statewide bill, so any final measure would go to Gov. Pat McCrory's desk.

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