“Make future celebrations groundhog-free:” After he bit the mayor, PETA asking that Jimmy be retired

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SUN PRAIRIE (WITI) -- Sun Prairie's groundhog "Jimmy" made national news when he bit the mayor's ear Monday, February 2nd during the 67th annual Groundhog Day celebration, and now -- PETA is weighing in.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals announced on its website it has submitted a letter to Sun Prairie -- requesting future events be groundhog free, and asking that Jimmy be allowed to retire.

In a statement on its website, PETA says:

"Groundhogs are naturally shy, sensitive prey animals who react poorly when handled in front of raucous crowds, as evidenced by yesterday’s incident—a not uncommon occurrence during Groundhog Day events, which also pose a safety risk to the animals.

“While this groundhog’s weather prognostication was unclear, his actions read loud and clear—he had no desire to be handled in front of the noisy crowd and flashing lights. PETA is calling on Sun Prairie to make future celebrations groundhog-free—for the safety of the animals and elected officials alike," PETA Senior Director Colleen O’Brien said.

In the letter to Ti Gauger, business improvement district manager for Sun Prairie, PETA described how biting indicates immense stress and fear in groundhogs:

“The event was clearly no fun for the animal, and in fact, he likely bit the mayor in a desperate attempt to flee. Not only does this type of situation pose risks to the animals and their handlers, with potentially tragic results, such handling could also trigger other stress-induced disorders in animals who aren’t outwardly harmed. We trust that you would never knowingly exhibit animals in a manner that would result in distress.”

Read PETA's official position on animals used for entertainment.

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  • Hell in a handbasket

    Did PETA do this last year in regards to the NYC Mayor dropping and eventually killing that groundhog? Just want to clarify if they have a standard or have knee jerk reactions.

  • LucyP

    Jimmy’s bite is a clear plea to be left in peace. The town should come up with a new tradition and leave animals out of it.

  • BuggyS

    Ugh! PETA, calm down. IT’S A GROUNDHOG! It bit the Mayor. 1 point for the groundhog. The Mayor didn’t skin it and wear it as a hat. It’s tradition to have a groundhog on GROUNDHOG’S DAY!

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