Florida man, 88, burns raccoon alive over eating mangoes

A raccoon peers out from a hole in a tree in a ravine in Moreland Hills, Ohio on Wednesday, April 29, 2009. (AP Photo/Amy Sancetta)

An 88-year-old Florida man was arrested after police said he burned a trapped raccoon alive because the animal had eaten his mangoes.

Ezra James told WKMG-TV in a story Saturday that he threw gasoline on the raccoon and lit a match. In addition to the mangoes, James says he was afraid the raccoon might give him rabies. James lives in the coastal town of Palm Bay, located about 75 miles (120 kilometers) southeast of Orlando.

A neighbor called 911 as the raccoon burned alive in a metal trap. James says police officers shot the raccoon to ease its suffering. Authorities say nuisance animals can be trapped and either released or humanely euthanized.

James says he was released from jail after posting $2,000 bail on a charge of animal cruelty resulting in death.
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