A Tennessee man whose viral videos include one of him dancing with a pet raccoon is fighting to get his pet back after it was taken away by the state’s Wildlife Resource Agency.
Mark “Coonrippy” Brown’s video of him dancing with his raccoon Gunshow has been viewed more than a million times on YouTube and, according to Vice, gained so much attention it was featured on “The Tonight Show” and “Good Morning America.”
Vice reports that the raccoon featured in the video has died, but Brown had taken in a new pet raccoon named Rebekah. According to Brown, the video became so popular that the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency decided to step in and confiscate Rebekah and take the raccoon to a wildlife rehabilitation center.
According to ABC News, the agency took the animal away from Brown because state law says it's illegal to keep wild animals as pets.
"I feel like I've had one of my children taken from me," said Brown, who is a former animal control officer.
Brown wants his pet raccoon returned to him and has appealed to Tennessee Gov. William Haslam. A petition on Change.org appealing to the governor appears to have been signed by more than 5,000 people.
"We have a nationwide campaign now called free Rebekah," Brown said. "We get 75 to 100 emails daily and they're all petitioning Governor Bill Haslam to give me a full pardon, to forgive me of my sins and let me get a permit to keep her."
The Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency reportedly said it became aware of Rebekah after a complaint from the public. The raccoon was taken to Walden's Puddle, a wildlife rehabilitation and education center in Tennessee.
A wildlife agency spokesman told ABC News that Brown could have been cited but wasn't because he was cooperative. The animal will not be returned to Brown, the spokesman added.