published Wednesday, January 8th, 2014

Spokesman: Gov. Haslam never received raccoon petition from 'Coonrippy'

A spokesman says Gov. Bill Haslam never received a petition seeking return of a pet raccoon to Mark "Coonrippy" Brown, but his staffers did talk with the Gallatin, TN, man who has since declared himself a Republican candidate for governor.

In declaring his candidacy against Haslam in the August GOP primary, Brown, 55, told the Gallatin News Examiner that Haslam had "ignored the cries from the entire United States" asking for the raccoon named Rebekah to be returned to him by the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency.

He said a letter to TWRA officials seeking a permit went unanswered and a petition to Haslam with more than 60,000 signatures was returned unopened. TWRA seized the raccoon last year, citing state law that generally prohibits individuals from owning wildlife, after Brown had achieved Internet renown with videos showing him dancing and showering with the raccoon. He has also appeared on national TV shows.


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