Man on Confiscated Possum: 'Feels Like They Kidnapped My Kid'

William Voiles of New Orleans says his pet marsupial was taken by officials during Mardi Gras
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 23, 2024 3:00 PM CST
Man Tries to Get Back Possum Confiscated During Mardi Gras
Meet Saffron.   (

William Voiles isn't feeling very celebratory this Mardi Gras season, even though he lives in the epicenter of the festivities: the Big Easy. That's because the artist's pet possum, Saffron, was confiscated from him in the French Quarter by Louisiana wildlife officials, and now he's vying to get his companion back, reports the New York Times. The paper notes Voiles' "menagerie" includes not only the 1-year-old marsupial, but also a rabbit and two dogs—all also named after spices, and also all of which the 50-year-old "[wheels] around New Orleans on a bicycle with a basket and a trailer."

The problem is, on Feb. 10, as Voiles was doing his usual stroll with Saffron at his side, law enforcement stopped him and took the possum, dressed in a blue sweater, away from him, saying it was illegal for Voiles to have the possum in his possession, per Voiles, who says he hasn't seen Saffron since, is now trying to find his pet, whom he found lying on top of its dead mother on the side of the road and nursed back to health, feeding it pet formula from a bottle. "It feels like they kidnapped my kid," he tells NOLA.

The citation Voiles received cited a law that "quadrupeds and other wildlife cannot be 'taken' without a permit," as Voiles did when he found Saffron a year ago. A petition is circulating in support of Voiles' efforts. Meanwhile, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries says Saffron wasn't the only creature confiscated during Carnival: Authorities say in a release they also took three different pythons away from other festivalgoers this month. (More possum stories.)

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