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 opossum in its New Year's Eve celebration.
Organizers of the Brasstown Possum Drop trap a wild opossum and put it in a clear plastic box each Dec. 31. The box is lowered to the ground at midnight, and the opossum 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.
(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
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