New groundhog needed after mayor gets bitten

SUN PRAIRIE, Wis. (AP) – Sun Prairie is without a groundhog for this year’s Groundhog Day festivities, after the animal used at last year’s event bit the former mayor.

Images of Jimmy the Groundhog biting then-Mayor Jon Freund’s ear were widely circulated, bringing unwanted attention to Sun Prairie.

Afterward, authorities told Jimmy’s owners they needed a license to own a groundhog. That prompted Ti and Jeff Gauger to release Jimmy into the wild.

Ti Gauger manages the Business Improvement District, which organizes Groundhog Day festivities. She tells the Wisconsin State Journal that organizers are scrambling for a replacement.

Gauger says the city’s event will begin at sunrise Feb. 2 even if no replacement is found.

But if a groundhog is found in time, this year it will be kept in a cage to avoid another nibble.

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