State Taxpayer's To Pay PETA's Legal Fees Over Possum Drop

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by AP

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- A North Carolina judge is ordering a state agency to pay $75,000 in legal fees to an animal rights group trying to stop a community from using a live possum in its New Year's Eve celebration. 

Organizers of the Brasstown Possum Drop trap a wild possum and put it in a clear plastic box each Dec. 31. The box is lowered to the ground at midnight, and the possum is later released.

The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals called the event cruel, and an administrative law judge last year agreed. 

But the state Wildlife Resources Commission continued to file legal challenges. 

A Wake County judge last week called those filings frivolous. 

Lawmakers passed a measure earlier this year allowing Brasstown to continue using a live possum. 

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