According to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) you need to resist the urge to help baby animals, even if you believe they have been abandoned.

One New York resident didn't seem to care about the health of an abandoned baby possum recently. This person not only took the baby home but ignored officials trying to contact the suspect to get the little guy to safety.

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Last month a resident noticed an abandoned baby opossum, also known as a "joey", in their Lynbrook, NY backyard. This individual took to social media to contact a wildlife rehabilitator. Before the licensed DEC rehabilitator could get to the scene the joey was stolen!

According to the DEC press release, an unlicensed citizen showed up and snatched the joey! The rehabber requested assistance from DEC officers in attempting to contact the suspect via social media but the alleged thief not only ignored officials, they "blocked" the rehabber on the social media platform.

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Officials did have the suspects identity and were able to track down the subject at their home. Eventually this individual admitted to taking the opossum without the required license. They received a ticket for illegal possession of protected wildlife. This joey is now in the hands of a licensed wildlife rehabilitator and is expected to make a full recovery.

The DEC reminds the public that keeping wildlife in captivity is illegal and harmful to the animal. Wildlife rehabilitators are the only people legally allowed to receive and treat distressed wildlife. If you observe wildlife that appears to be sick or behaving abnormally you should contact your regional DEC wildlife office.

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