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ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) - A federal appeals court says a Southern California man arrested for beating an opossum with a shovel can sue police because it's not illegal to kill the backyard animals.

Lorenzo Oliver called Anaheim police about the opossum attacking his bulldogs in his yard in 2008.

Officers showed up and arrested him for trying to kill the animal.

The then-54-year-old father was jailed until his family raised a $20,000 bond.

No criminal charges were filed.

Oliver filed a federal wrongful arrest lawsuit against the Anaheim Police Department, but it was rejected by an Orange County judge.