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Controversial possum drop prevails in NC town

Posted at 1:56 PM, Jan 01, 2014
and last updated 2014-01-01 13:57:00-05

BRASSTOWN, N.C. (WLOS) -- People gathered in southwest North Carolina for the return of a controversial tradition on New Year’s Eve.

Organizers lowered a wild possum nicknamed Opie in a box attached to a rope to ring in 2014.

The celebration went on, despite PETA’s attempts by to stop it. The animal rights group had filed multiple lawsuits, alleging the "cruel" event stressed out the possum.

However, organizers pointed out that the possum was unharmed and was returned to the wild after the festivities.

Last year, revelers ushered in the 2013 without a possum after a judge ruled the wildlife commission's permit for the event was invalid.

Accordingly, state lawmakers passed a new law in March to allow the event to continue.