Friday, August 23, 2013

The Government Took This Man's Raccoon Away Because of a Viral Video

Harry Cheadle

In the days before online video, a long-bearded man dancing with his pet raccoon to Aretha Franklin on his porch in rural Tennessee would have gone unnoticed, just one weird blissful moment in a world full of them. But Mark “Coonrippy” Brown’s clip (above) of him dancing with his four-legged companion Gunshow has gone viral viral since he posted it in July 2012, racking up more than 1 million views on YouTube and attracting so much attention it was featured on The Tonight Show and Good Morning America, which are like YouTube for old people.

It got some not-so-welcome attention, however—according to Coonrippy, the video became so popular that the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) decided to step in and confiscate his raccoon, Rebekah, in late July. (By this time, Gunshow had gone on to that great hollow tree in the sky, but Coonrippy had a new raccoon pet.) Rebakah was taken to a wildlife rehabilitation center, even though arguably all she needed to be “rehabilitated” from was having a decent life as part of a family. She even got to take showers:

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