Like the weathermen who look to him for advice every winter, Punxsutawney Phil just can't catch a break from his critics.
The world's most famous groundhog, who earlier this month disappointed millions by predicting six more weeks of winter, is now at the center of a
manhunt, er, marmothunt after police in Merrimack, New Hampshire, issued a tongue-in-cheek warrant for his arrest.
"We have received several complaints from the public that this little varmint is held up in a hole, warm and toasty," the department posted to its Facebook page. "He told several people that Winter would last 6 more weeks, however he failed to disclose that it would consist of mountains of snow!"
With parts of New England receiving record-setting snowfall over the past several weeks (and another storm predicted to hit this weekend), the outrage is understandable However, in reviewing the contract that the original Punxsutawney Phil signed in 1887 (like other journalists, I always keep one handy), it does not stipulate that the groundhog must expand upon his "six more weeks of winter" prediction. Further, it's unclear if any of Phil's predictions for the greater Pennsylvania region encompass other states in the Union.
This isn't the first time Phil has faced legal action over his forecasts. Last year, Ohio prosecutor Michael T. Gmoser filed a criminal indictment against the groundhog, recommending the death penalty over the lack of an early spring.
"I woke up this morning and the wind was blowing, the snow was flying, the temperatures were falling, and I said 'Punxsutawney, you let us down,' " Gmoser told a local CNN affiliate.
While it's unclear what punishment the Merrimack police are interested in serving the groundhog, they're certainly doing nothing to improve his image. "If you see him, do not approach him as he is armed and dangerous. Call Merrimack Police, we will certainly take him into custody!," they added.
Phil might want to tuck in, like the rest of us, and just wait this one out.