HARRISBURG (EYT) – Gov. Tom Wolf stepped in last week and issued a warning to the New Hampshire Police Department, which posted an arrest warrant for Punxsutawney Phil on its Facebook page.
“[Punxsutawney Phil] told several people that winter would last six more weeks, however, he failed to disclose that it would consist of mountains of snow,” read a post on the Merrimack Police Department’s Facebook page.
“If you see him, do not approach him as he is armed and dangerous. Call Merrimack Police, we will certainly take him into custody,” continued the post.
The post has amassed more than 6,000 “Likes” and nearly 10,000 “Shares” since it appeared Feb. 10.
In a post on his Facebook page, Wolf voted to do whatever necessary to protect Punxsutawney Phil.
“Punxsutawney Phil is not just some average rodent – he is an American legend and Pennsylvania hero,” Wolf said.
“We will do what is necessary to protect our beloved weather-predicting groundhog. The Merrimack Police Department should drop their cold-hearted plan to arrest Phil. I hope cooler heads prevail before this situation really heats up.”
Wolf also asked New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan to intervene and put a stop to this threat.
Hassan responded on Twitter.
She tweeted, “All he has to do to make this go away is step outside and avoid his shadow…expecting more snow this weekend.”
“If necessary, I will ask the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club Inner Circle to increase security at Phil’s stump or place Phil in protective custody until this outrageous warrant is rescinded,” Wolf said.
This isn’t the first time Phil has faced legal action for his prognostications.
In 2013, a Butler County, Ohio, prosecutor issued an indictment against Punxsutawney Phil after he had apparently predicted an early spring.
Prosecutor Mike Gmoser accused Phil of “misrepresentation of spring.”
“Contrary to the Groundhog Day report, a snowstorm and record low temperatures have been and are predicted to continue in the near future,” Gmoser wrote.
Gmoser eventually dismissed the indictment after the president of the Groundhog Club’s Inner Circle said he failed to correctly interpret Phil’s prediction, which was spoken in “groundhog-ese.”