Rodent enemy No. 1: Ohio prosecuting attorney indicts Punxsutawney Phil

Mike Krumboltz
The Sideshow

Wanted: Punxsutawney Phil (Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Wanted: Punxsutawney Phil (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Attention, meteorologists everywhere, especially those who belong to the groundhog species: Do not mess with the emotions of prosecuting attorney Mike Gmoser.

The Butler County, Ohio, prosecutor recently released an official-ish statement, seeking an indictment of world-famous groundhog and weather predictor Punxsutawney Phil for poor performance.

The punishment Gmoser has proposed: death.

In a tongue-in-cheek statement, Gmoser said, "Punxsutawney Phil did purposely, and with prior calculation and design, cause the people to believe that spring would come early." Gmoser goes on to charge Phil with misrepresentation of spring, a felony "against the peace and dignity of the state of Ohio."

Phil could apparently not be reached for comment, but his reps weren't taking the charges lying down. President of the Punxsutawney club Bill Deely said furry Phil has a lawyer who would fight any attempt to extradite the groundhog across the state border. Deely spoke to and said that any weather-predicting errors were his own fault because he misinterpreted what Phil told him. Now that's loyalty.

Gmoser's proposal is quite similar (if less explicit) than a recently published article from the satirical site The Onion.

As a due punishment for the animal having incorrectly predicted an early spring, local residents gathered in a public square today to bear somber witness to the beheading of weather-prognosticating rodent Punxsutawney Phil as part of the region’s traditional Groundhog Slaughtering Day. ... Let this gesture stand as a stark reminder to all future groundhogs who seek to presage winter’s end without evidence or merit.