There will be no possum drop in Brasstown this New Year's Eve if a decision by an administrative law judge stands.
In a ruling issued Tuesday, Judge Fred Morrison said North Carolina law prohibits citizens from using wild animals for pets or amusement. He said the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission didn't have the authority to issue a permit allowing the drop.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals had sued over the practice, saying the annual event is illegal and cruel.
The possum drop attracts thousands to Brasstown, located near the state's western tip. During the drop, the possum is suspended in a see-through box covered with holiday tinsel and lowered to the ground at midnight.
A spokesman says the commission would have a response later.
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