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Jan 13, 11:06 AM EST

Pet raccoon can't go home, Washington state judge rules

SEATTLE (AP) -- A western Washington state court judge has rejected a family's request to return their pet raccoon named Mae.

Thurston County Superior Court Judge Carol Murphy on Friday ruled that Mae must remain in the possession of state wildlife officials until the court can address the merits of the family's lawsuit against the state.

Kellie and Chris Greer of Seattle sued the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife in early December seeking the return of 7-year-old Mae. She was seized in late November by state officials.

The couple says they rescued Mae after finding the young raccoon next to her dead mother in a park and Mae became part of their family.

But state officials say it's illegal for the public to possess live wildlife without a permit.

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