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RALEIGH, NC (AP) — North Carolina’s wildlife regulators and an animal protection group are headed toward new court hearings over the captured possum used to liven up a mountain town’s New Year’s Eve celebration.

Attorneys for the state Wildlife Resources Commission and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals are expected in court in Raleigh on Monday. The animal-welfare organization wants to block the annual Possum Drop in Brasstown in a little more than a week.

The state commission on Friday issued a permit allowing the organizer to capture the animal.

The General Assembly this year passed a law allowing licensed sportsmen to hold animals for display as long as they are returned to the wild when the event is over.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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