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5 year old Uintah boy injured by “pet” raccoon; DWR sends warning

Utah family was keeping a raccoon as a pet and it ended up attacking their young son. Utah's DWR is warning the public about keeping wild animals as pets.

UINTAH COUNTY — A 5-year-old boy may have a long recovery ahead of him, after authorities say he was scratched by a raccoon his family was keeping as a pet in Eastern Utah.

DWR Outreach manager, Tonya Kieffer-Selby, says the boy had to undergo emergency surgery.

“The animal was euthanized, and it was sent off to the CDC to be tested, and ensure the boy was receiving the correct treatment, if there were any issues with the animal being infected,” she said. “Raccoons are known to be carriers of a lot of different viruses, parasites, bacteria.”

The boy’s identity is being kept private for now.

Raccoons are a non-protected species in Utah, meaning you do not have to possess a valid hunting or trapping license to harvest them. However, they should not be brought indoors.

“The biggest thing to note about this, is that it is highly illegal to possess these animals. In rare cases, people can get permits from the Department of Agriculture, but otherwise, it is illegal to have these animals in your possession,” said Kieffer-Selby.

Skunks, coyotes and red foxes are also on that list.

DWR says the baby animals, in particular, may be cute, and it may be tempting to “rescue” them, but they should be left alone.