Attorney Says There Was No Valid Reason To Euthanize Monteagle Family's Pet Raccoon Boomer

Wednesday, April 18, 2018
Candace Bone with Boomer
Candace Bone with Boomer

A Chattanooga attorney who specializes in wildlife cases says there was no valid reason for health officials to have euthanized a pet raccoon belonging to a family in Monteagle.

Candace Bone said the family had owned "Boomer" for three years after getting her from an approved raccoon farm.

She said, "We are all devastated. He was just like a baby to us. Boomer slept between my husband and I and she would lift up her arms when she wanted to be picked up."

The action came after Boomer bit a neighbor boy who was at the Bone residence.

His parents sent him to the emergency room the next day and the Health Department was then called in.

A TWRA officer came to the Bone residence and took the raccoon. Then it was euthanized under a judge's order after a lengthy hearing.

Attorney Chris Jones said the boy nor the raccoon had shown any sign of rabies. He said Boomer was an "inside raccoon."

 The attorney said, "Like someone having their child taken away by the government and killed, Mrs. Candace Bone and her family are  devastated  by the unnecessary death of her pet domesticated raccoon "Boomer," the Bone family has kept for the last three years. Mrs. Bone has suffered severe physical and emotional  trauma having been terrorized by the TWRA and the Tennessee Department of Health's draconian agency actions. 

"Boomer the raccoon is the state animal of Tennessee, and the Bones have been licensed to possess her by the TWRA for the last three years having been purchased in 2015 from a TWRA and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) licensed and regulated raccoon farm in Gainsboro, Tn., as 'livestock.' 

"This all happened because on March 28 a 14-year-old boy was having dinner at the Bone's home and was playfully and superficially bitten by Boomer on the foot.  The mother of the boy did not know Boomer was licensed and had been given shots for rabies, like dogs and cats. 

"The mother took her bitten son to the local ER where doctors sought information from the TWRA and Department of Health.  The ER doctor was ultimately telephone channeled to non medical doctors, a Nashville TWRA Law Enforcement Captain Walter Cook, and Department of Health Deputy Epidemiologist Veterinarian Dr. John Dunn. 

"Both dramatically responded to the ER doctor that the raccoon could be rabid, therefore it had to be euthanized because that's the only way to test it for rabies, and there's no way to test the bite victim, which is untrue. CDC test strips INFRA could be used.  At the hearing, the boy's father also testified his son had not experienced any signs of being infected with rabies, and that is still the case now almost three weeks later.

"Two days after the boy was taken to the ER, a TWRA game warden entered the Bone family home and threatened incarcerating Mr. Bone if he did not give him the raccoon. The TWRA and Department of Health provided no paper evidence justifying why they needed the raccoon, and left no paper evidence having taken Boomer away from the Bone family.  The Bone family learned the game warden had driven the raccoon 90 miles away to a veterinarian in Chattanooga.  The Bones desperately visited the veterinarian and asserted the raccoon was their private property, and to give it back.

"The veterinarian then refused to give the raccoon to the Department of Health without a court order.  More than 10 days later the Department of Health filed a Petition for Emergency Health Measure in Grundy County requesting an emergency hearing for a court order to euthanize the raccoon and test it for rabies in the name of protecting the bitten boy.

"After a five-hour hearing on Friday, Grundy County General Sessions Judge Trey Anderson granted the Department of Health an order that an Emergency Health Threat to the Public did exist, and for the raccoon to be euthanized, decapitated and its brain tested for rabies - even though the state Rabies Manual allows livestock to be quarantined for 10 days for visual signs of rabies, which Boomer did not display. Dr. Dunn testified at the hearing, refusing to honor that the domesticated farmed raccoon was  'livestock' and needed to be euthanized for rabies testing.

"Also at the hearing, Dr. Dunn testified he has known about Center for Disease Control (CDC) rabies test strips being available to humans to learn if they are infected with rabies but has never considered making these test strips available to medical personnel in Tennessee to test people for rabies, even though these inexpensive test strips have been available on the market now for 10 years.

"Dr. Dunn acknowledged that each year the USDA uses airplanes and helicopters to litter Tennessee with millions of vanilla flavored rabies vaccine packets (Raboral VRG ) for raccoons to find and eat and become vaccinated against rabies."

Latest Hamilton County Jail Booking Report

Here is the latest jail booking report from Hamilton County: ADAMS, MICHELLE DESHAUN  113 GOODSON AVE CHATTANOOGA, 37421  Age at Arrest: 28 years old Arresting Agency: Hamilton County DRIVING ON REVOKED LICENSE REGISTRATION, IMPROPER DISPLAY OF PLATES --- ALLEN, CHRISTOPHER LAMOND  4410 MIDLAND PIKE CHATTANOOGA, 37411  Age at Arrest: 49 years ... (click for more)

School Board Approves Moving Forward On $290,000 Equity Consulting Contract

The County School Board voted 8-1 on Thursday night in favor of a $290,000 contract with consultants to help with an equity study. Officials said there will be no cost to the school system,but it was not clear who will be paying. Board member David Testerman asked, "How do we know who's going to provide the funding?"  Supt. Bryan Johnson indicated he is confident that ... (click for more)

Speaking Of A Cove

Mr. Sole Commissioner Whitfield,   I live in  a cove in western most Chattanooga. My back yard is woods. My front yard is woodland too. My neighbors and I had chance to voice our disagreement in 1996 to the proposed sale of a portion of the farm that dominated this cove and we did. There weren’t very many of us. One member of the group that listened to ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: 'Don't Dare Endorse Me!'

When Joe Smith, a member of the Hamilton County School Board, met with officials of the UnifiEd political action committee on Tuesday, his instructions to his somber listeners were very specific. He told the leaders of the now-tainted education non-profit group. “Do not endorse me. I extended the courtesy of answering your questions … I am eager to do the right thing. But I am saying ... (click for more)

Baylor Wins D-II State Baseball

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. – The Baylor School baseball team has been on a tear these past couple of weeks as they’ve been averaging double figures in runs scored and base hits. It's become quite a winning combination. That trend continued here at MTSU’s Reese Smith Jr. Field on Thursday afternoon in Baylor’s biggest and most important game of the season. Facing the Memphis University ... (click for more)

Baylor Wins Fourth Straight State Softball Title

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. – The Baylor Lady Red Raiders and the GPS Bruisers have had some classic battles on the softball field in recent years, many times in the championship game of the Division II-Class AA portion of the state tournament. They met again on Thursday night on Starplex Field No. 3. Baylor won for the third time this year, but there’s really no way to adequately ... (click for more)