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The N.C. General Assembly gave final approval to a bill excluding opossums from state wildlife laws between Dec. 26 and Jan. 2 in Clay County.

AP file photo

The N.C. General Assembly gave final approval to a bill excluding opossums from state wildlife laws between Dec. 26 and Jan. 2 in Clay County.

Lawmakers OK ‘Possum Drop’ exception

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RALEIGH — The marsupial star of a New Year’s Eve tradition in a North Carolina mountain town can remain the center of attention.

The Senate agreed Wednesday without discussion on a bill excluding opossums from state wildlife laws between December 26 and January 2 in Clay County, where the annual Possum Drop celebration is held.

The Possum Drop involves lowering a possum in a clear plastic box at midnight and then releasing it.

The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has tried to stop the event, saying the animal is cruelly treated. A judge last year dismissed a PETA lawsuit, but another hearing is expected.

The bill is considered local legislation, which means it takes effect without the governor’s signature.