Lowering of live opossum for Dec. 31 celebration in western NC uncertain after judge's ruling

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RALEIGH, North Carolina — The use of a wild opossum during an annual New Year's Eve celebration in the North Carolina mountains again is uncertain after a Wake County judge agreed to block a General Assembly law approved this year.

Superior Court Judge Bryan Collins granted a preliminary injunction Friday related to the Possum Drop in Brasstown. WRAL-TV reports (http://bit.ly/1FUDGtQ ) Collins found People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and other groups were likely to win their lawsuit, so he granted their motion.

A captured opossum is lowered at midnight in a tinsel-covered box. Critics say the noise and lights traumatize it.

The challenged law was the second designed to keep the tradition going.

Collins says the drop organizer could still use a opossum if he's licensed by a state wildlife agency in time.

Information from: WRAL-TV, http://www.wral.com

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