AUGUSTA — A wallaby owner is being allowed to keep her pet for now, even though wildlife officials say she is violating state law by keeping a wild animal as a pet.

Michelle Charette of Island Falls took the male marsupial named Kingston home on Wednesday after a hearing at the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.

The state is concerned that the kangaroo-like animal indigenous to Australia can catch and transmit rabies because it has not been vaccinated. Charette said she will get the animal vaccinated and comply with any conditions the state sets.

The panel is not expected to rule for several days on whether Charette can keep the wallaby, but she was relieved she can keep it in the meantime.

“I thought they were going to take him away from me,” she told the Bangor Daily News after the 40-minute hearing, wiping away tears.

Charette and her boyfriend, Jay Batchelder, said they bought Kingston last month from a New Jersey breeder who told them no vaccines were needed. Batchelder and Charette’s mother gave the animal to Charette as a gift to comfort her following her divorce.

After returning home, they took Kingston to her 9-year-old son’s baseball game, where many people were smitten with the animal. At 29 days old, Kingston looks like a tall, lean rabbit that walks on its hind legs.

The next day, two Maine wardens visited Charette’s home, telling her she needed a permit to import and keep the animal. She and Batchelder completed an application online, but the department denied the application on Monday.

At Wednesday’s hearing, board members appeared sympathetic. But had the wallaby scratched a child at the baseball game, they said wardens would have had to test it for rabies – which would have required euthanizing the animal.