Michael Gmoser, the prosecuting attorney for Butler County, Ohio, issued an official indictment against Punxsatawney Phil, a groundhog that missed a prediction for early spring, The Blaze reported Friday.
Liz Klimas wrote that "Old Man Winter has maintained his grasp on the region sending inches of snow their way within the past week," despite the groundhog's prediction, and some want the critter to make amends.
In his indictment, Gmoser wants the animal to pay -- with his life.
Klimas said that while the indictment is "funny," it is "bound to have some critics questioning the use of government time."
"On or about February 02, 2013, at Gobbler’s Knob, Punxsutawney Phil did purposely, and with prior calculation and design, cause the people to believe that Spring would come early. Contrary to the Groundhog day report, a snowstorm and record low temperatures have been and are predicted to continue in the near future, which constitutes the offense of MISREPRESENTATION OF EARLY SPRING, a Unclassified Felony, and against the peace and dignity of the State Of Ohio," the indictment reads.
"SPECIFICATION: The people further find and specify that due to the aggravating circumstances and misrepresentation to the people that the death penalty be implemented to the defendant, Punxsutawney Phil," Gmoser added.
“When he betrays us like this, something has to be done,” Gmoser told the Washington Post in a telephone interview, citing the snow and cold temperatures the area experienced on the second day of spring.
“His defense will be he didn’t know his rear end from a hole in the ground,” he added, saying he expects the groundhog to appeal the indictment.
Gmoser admitted to the Post that he was engaging in a bit of humor.
“This is a story that has legs,” he joked. “I hope everyone understands it’s tongue-in-cheek.”
Although The Onion, a satirical website known for parodies, did not start the story, it weighed in on the incident, Klimas said.
"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," the site said.
"Town council members then announced that Punxsutawney Phil’s headless body would be ceremonially devoured raw by the mayor later that evening," the site added.