Judge could decide if raccoons deserve cruelty protection

Man accused of drowning trapped raccoons in barrel

PITTSBURGH - A Pennsylvania judge will decide whether raccoons are protected animals or vermin meant to be disposed.

William Killgallon, 68, was charged with felony animal cruelty after Pittsburgh police said he admitted to drowning trapped raccoons in a barrel.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported Killgallon's attorney argued Tuesday that his client should not have been charged in the first place. He argued raccoon are vermin that are not protected under an animal cruelty law.

Deputy District Attorney Jennifer DiGiovanni disagreed, saying "a raccoon is very different from a cockroach." DiGiovanni contended animals like raccoons should be killed humanely, not drowned in a barrel.

The judge said he will issue a decision if the two sides can't reach an agreement.

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