Health Department says raccoon brought into ND bar tested negative for rabies

Published: Sep. 20, 2022 at 2:45 PM CDT
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MADDOCK, N.D. (Valley News Live) - North Dakota Health and Human Services says a raccoon brought into a North Dakota bar last week has tested negative for rabies.

A bartender at the Maddock Bar said she was serving drinks when a woman brought the animal in during happy hour. There were about 10 people in the bar at the time. the bartender asked the woman to leave, but instead she took the raccoon around to show another customer.

The woman left with the animal about five minutes later. The bartender said the raccoon never left the woman’s arms and didn’t bite anyone.

Health and Human Services issued a statement on September 13 regarding the situation. At that time the whereabouts of the raccoon was still being determined.

Erin Christensen, owner of the raccoon, says her family found the raccoon three months ago, and they had been caring for it ever since. Christensen was taken into custody for providing false information to law enforcement, tampering with evidence, and ND Game & Fish violations.

“When humans and animals such as raccoons come into contact with each other, we have no choice but to consider the possibility of rabies exposures and the best practice is to rule out rabies by testing” said Amanda Bakken, epidemiologist with HHS.

The raccoon was put down and transported to be tested for rabies and other diseases. Prior to the test results of the raccoon, health officials issued a warning to those who had contact with the animal about possible rabies exposure.

For additional information about animal rabies activity in North Dakota, please visit