Wayward wallaroo rescued from river after chase in Illinois
PERU, Ill. (AP) — Police in Peru, Illinois, are no strangers to chases — unless what they’re after hops away on two legs.
Officers in the city about 95 miles (152 kilometers) southwest of Chicago were joined Wednesday afternoon by firefighters and even residents in a two-hour pursuit of a runaway wallaroo that bounded through yards and along streets and roads.
Native to Australia, wallaroos are larger than wallabies and smaller than kangaroos. This bloke — named Wally — got away from his owner in LaSalle County.
Fearing that the marsupial might get hit by a vehicle, Peru Police Chief Doug Bernabei shut down nearby roads.
Wally eventually made his way into a river.
“I had to hold back the owner of Wally because he wanted to enter the Illinois River and that would have been tragic,” Bernabei told WLS-TV.
Two anglers were nearby.
“We were screaming and pointing. We were saying, ‘Get your net out, get your net out,’” Bernabei told the (Peoria) Journal Star. “They yelled, ‘It’s not a dog!’ We said ... ‘It’s not a dog, it’s a wallaroo.’”
They used a net to fish Wally from the frigid water and into their boat before taking him to shore.
“He was so cold we couldn’t register his temperature on the thermometer,” said veterinarian Allison Spayer. “We warmed him up. We dried him off.”
Bernabei said Wednesday was “probably the best day of the year, so far.”
“It was a neat thing to get him out of the river and get him to a warm place and get him treated,” he said.
Police said they planned to verify that Wally’s owner had a permit for a wallaroo.