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COUPLE ACCUSED OF KEEPING RABID RACCOON

A Town of New Hudson couple are facing child-endangerment charges because they kept a raccoon as a pet that tested positive for rabies.

And all 11 members of the family, in addition to a social worker, who were exposed to the raccoon are receiving rabies inoculations

Mary and Ronald Cornelius of Cloverleaf Road were charged Friday. District Attorney Terrence Parker said state Department of Environmental Conservation officers charged them with nine counts each of endangering the welfare of a child and with possessing the raccoon without permission.

Child Protective Services officials of Allegany County learned the family had the animal in June and warned the parents of the potential for danger, Parker said.

A social worker from Child Protective Services was exposed to the rabies and is being treated, Parker said.

DEC Lt. Thomas Scott said Friday the raccoon "was sick" when the county Health Department tested it for rabies a week ago.

"They were told how unwise it is to try to keep a wild animal in a 'rabies vector county like this," Scott said.

Parker said Child Protective Services also warned the couple about the danger and told them to get rid of the animal.

The Corneliuses will answer the charges in New Hudson Town Court in October, Scott said.

New Hudson is north of Cuba, on the border with Cattaraugus County.

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