State Folds In Lawsuit Over Possum Drop

RALEIGH (AP) -- Barring a change in state law, the annual New Year's Eve Possum Drop in the mountains will have to carry on without a live animal.

The North Carolina Wildlife Commission filed for dismissal Thursday from a pending court fight over whether it can issue a permit allowing the event's organizer in Brasstown to trap a wild opossum. Traditionally, the fuzzy marsupial was suspended in a clear box adorned with tinsel and gently lowered to the ground at midnight, then released.

The commission's decision to withdraw hands victory to the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, which called the Possum Drop cruel. The organization filed a court challenge last year over whether the state could legally permit a wild animal to be displayed in such a manner.

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