Raoul Harvey says Josie the pet possum will die if she's taken from his care. He's got her hidden and says she's safe.
Raoul Harvey says Josie the pet possum will die if she's taken from his care. He's got her hidden and says she's safe. Megan Lewis

Josie is still 'on the run'

JOSIE the pet possum was still on the run last night, in hiding from animal welfare officers who want to separate her from her “owner/carer” Raoul Harvey.

Raoul, a 62-year-old who lives on a five-acre property near Mount Morgan, won't reveal the whereabouts of his beloved pet.

“She's safe, that's all I'm prepared to say at this stage,” he said. “If the RSPCA asks me where she is I'll tell them I've set her free.”

Raoul has cared for the six-and-a-half-year-old possum since she was a few days old and they have been constant companions.

He's vowed to do everything he can to prevent Josie being taken into care by RSPCA or Parks and Wildlife officers who confiscated his other possum, Fred, late last week.

Central Queensland RSPCA senior inspector Shane Towers-Hammond told The Morning Bulletin on Friday that he was prepared to take Raoul to court on an animal cruelty charge if he didn't surrender Josie.

“It's illegal to keep a possum as a pet,” he said, adding it was very stressful for a wild animal to be kept as a domestic pet.

He said the animal would be placed with expert foster carers and assessed by a vet with a view to being released into the wild.

And he confirmed that whatever happened, Raoul would never get Josie back because he was not a registered wildlife carer.

Mr Towers-Hammond tried to collect Josie on Friday but Raoul avoided him and said he would not give Josie up because he feared the shock of being separated would kill her.

“I'm all she has ever known. She's in hiding now but when I went to see her she gave me a lick and a look that said 'where the hell have you been'.”

Raoul said he was looking at a legal loophole that might allow him to keep Josie as a “companion animal.”

“I'm in a complete mess over this. I can't eat, can't sleep and I've been in tears. I've lived through a lot but I have never in my life known anything as stressful as this,” he said.

“To me the real issue is about keeping Josie safe and sound ... if she can't be with me she will die. I just can't believe people who are supposed to look after the interests of animals can even think about doing something that will kill a loved pet.”

Read more...

Raoul's possum magic

What do you think? Should Raoul be able to keep Josie? Have your say - leave a comment below.


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