RALEIGH - North Carolina's wildlife regulators and an animal protection group are looking for a judge to decide whether a mountain town's New Year's Eve celebration can include the lowering of a captured possum at midnight.

Attorneys for the Wildlife Resources Commission and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals were in court in Raleigh on Monday. The animal-welfare organization wants to block the annual Possum Drop in Brasstown next week. A PETA lawyer says the lights, noise and crowd of people can wreck a possum's nerves and health.

The state commission issued a permit Friday 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 after the event.