When a call came in to the Brewster Police Department about a strange animal running loose around the northeastern Ohio town, Chief Nathan Taylor wasn’t totally convinced.
It appeared to be a kangaroo, the witness said Thursday, Aug. 11. Officers searched around but didn’t find any outback animals hopping in or around the town.
“We didn’t find anything, we didn’t think anything of it,” Taylor told McClatchy News in a phone interview on Aug. 14.
But two days after the initial sighting, someone came into the department with video evidence showing the animal hopping across a road, clearly illuminated by headlights.
“Then we realized, we really did have a wallaby running around,” Taylor said.
Sightings have increased since then, Taylor said, but so far, police haven’t been able to capture the animal.
“He’s been spotted sporadically throughout the village,” Taylor said. “He pops up. He’s usually out at night.”
While it was first thought to be a kangaroo, Taylor says it’s been identified as a wallaby — a species similar to kangaroos, but significantly smaller.
“He just kind of sits out in the fields and eats and goes about his business,” Taylor said, adding that the wallaby was recently spotted outside a chip factory in town.
Where the wallaby came from, police don’t know. It’s likely an escaped pet, Taylor says, but if that’s the case, no owner has spoken up so far.
“I would imagine somebody had him and he got loose, but he will not let us get within 50 yards of him,” Taylor said.
A private company is being brought in to help with capturing the wallaby.
Officers plan to use drones to locate and keep tabs on the animal, while the team coming to assist police will put up traps to capture the wallaby alive and without harming it, according to Taylor.
“They have the means and ways to catch it humanely and relocate it into a safer environment,” Taylor said.