Judge denies man's ‘absurd' argument against charges for drowning raccoon

ALLEGHENY COUNTY, Pa. — An Allegheny County judge ruled that raccoons are protected under state law after a man challenged animal cruelty charges for drowning one.

William Killgallon Jr., 68, admitted to drowning the animal in a barrel of water after catching it in a trap, according to court documents. However, he argued he shouldn’t have been charged because raccoons are vermin and are not protected under an animal cruelty law.

Judge Jeffrey Manning denied Killgallon’s petition.

“This argument is absurd,” Manning wrote. “Simply because a raccoon can be a nuisance, much like other animals, does not mean that they can be considered vermin or pests.”

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Manning cited cats and dogs rummaging through garbage as an example to support his decision.

“No reasonable construction of the statute would include, as vermin, the golden retriever that knocks over a garbage can to get at the discarded T-bone or the fat tabby rummaging for the remnants of a tuna fish sandwich,” Manning wrote.

The ruling concluded that the drowning of an animal is cruel, constitutes ill treatment or abuse and is specifically prohibited “as a means of destroying of an animal” under Pennsylvania law.