Punxsutawney Phil off the hook

Ohio prosecutor drops tongue-in-cheek charge against groundhog

POSTED: 7:50 AM PDT March 26, 2013    UPDATED: 8:00 AM PDT March 26, 2013 
Punxsutawney Phil

Punxsutawney Phil is off the hook for wrongly predicting an early spring -- for now.

A prosecutor in Ohio's Butler County who filed a tongue-in-cheek indictment against the famous Pennsylvania groundhog last week told The Associated Press he's dropping the charge.

Mike Gmoser said he decided on the pardon after Phil's handler took the blame for his faulty forecast.

Phil has been making his predictions at Gobbler's Knob since 1887.

If he sees his shadow, it means six more weeks of chill. If not, short sleeves are days away, according to CNN.

This year, Phil predicted an early spring after he didn't see his shadow upon emerging from his burrow.

But on the first day of spring March 20, the Northeast got pelted with more than a foot of snow. Cold temperatures have lingered, and some areas of the Midwest got nearly 18 inches of snow this week, leaving many Americans pretty crabby.

Bill Deeley, president of the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club's Inner Circle, said Monday he misinterpreted Phil's "groundhog-ese."

But while he worried Gmoser may go after him next, the Butler County prosecutor said he's done prosecuting animals and has a lot of "really serious work" to do.

"Maybe another prosecutor can go after the Easter Bunny," Gmoser told the AP.