Bullhead City man desperate to reunite with pet raccoon


by Carina Sonn and Marie Saavedra

Video report by Marie Saavedra

Posted on February 27, 2012 at 12:31 PM

Updated Monday, Feb 27 at 8:11 PM

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BULLHEAD CITY, Ariz. -- Dangerous. Full of disease. That's how some describe the raccoon, but a Bullhead City man calls it something else -- a pet. Now after wildlife officials took the raccoon away, his owner wants him back.

The furry little guy may act like an average household cat, but he's all raccoon. The animal, named "Sunny," belongs to Stan Morris and the two are obviously very comfortable with each other.

In a video, you see the pair hanging out on the couch, driving together, even taking a little stroll.

"Where he stops, nobody knows!" Morris said.

Actually, we do know.

Officials from the Arizona Game and Fish Department removed Sunny last week after a Bullhead City police officer saw Morris walking down the street with Sunny on his shoulder and called Game and Fish to report it.

The department obtained a search warrant to pick up the raccoon and, in the process, discovered that Morris had an outstanding misdemeanor warrant. He was jailed and later released for that charge.

But the man and his pet have yet to be reunited.

"I want Sunny back," Morris said. "I haven't stopped crying and I'm a 57-year-old man."

Morris said he's had Sunny for the last five months after a friend rescued him from drowning.

Game and Fish says while Morris may have had good intentions, it will likely result in the animal having to live the rest of its life in captivity and not back in the wild.

The department does not issue permits for individuals to hold native wildlife as personal pets. Because of that, Morris was cited for possession of restricted wildlife. They say it's important to remember that raccoons are wild, which means they can be dangerous and unpredictable. Game and Fish officials also say the animal could carry disease.

Morris admits it's unusual to keep a raccoon, but claims he's a bit of a wildlife whisperer.

"I know that not everybody should have one, but I have played with lions, tigers, bears, baboons, rattlesnakes, scorpions," he said.

And now he's worried about the fate of Sunny.

"They're going to have him and put him in a cage and he's not going to like that so he might want to growl at somebody or snip at somebody and they're going to think he's a mean critter," Morris said.

On Monday, Morris set out to find out where Game and Fish is currently holding Sunny in the hopes that he can get the raccoon back, but the department said Sunny is being held as evidence in a pending a case.