Erie County man charged in the case of the wandering wallaby

The wallaby found roaming in northwestern Pennsylvania. Officers tranquilized the animal, a member of the marsupial family, and took it to a licensed wildlife preserve. REGIS SENKO / Pennsylvania Game Commission
The wallaby found roaming in northwestern Pennsylvania. Officers tranquilized the animal, a member of the marsupial family, and took it to a licensed wildlife preserve. REGIS SENKO / Pennsylvania Game Commission
Posted: June 16, 2012

HARRISBURG — An Erie County man has been charged with several wildlife violations in connection with a wandering wallaby found last month in a community in northwestern Pennsylvania.

Corry A. Lewis, 22, of North East, was charged with one count of unlawful importation of wildlife and one count of unlawful possession of wildlife, the Pennsylvania Game Commission said Friday. The charges carry a maximum fine of $200 for each count.

On May 30, wildlife conservation officers responded to calls from residents of Cambridge Springs, Crawford County, who reported seeing the kangaroo-like animal roaming their neighborhood. Officers tranquilized the wallaby, a native of Australia and a member of the marsupial family, and took it to a licensed wildlife preserve.

It was unclear whether the male wallaby had been released by Lewis or escaped. Nor was it clear how Lewis obtained an animal that can be kept only with a permit in Pennsylvania.

A Game Commission spokesman said officers had received several tips about the wallaby's ownership. He would not discuss any details of the pending case.

A bill that passed the State House and is pending in the Senate would ban all private ownership of exotic animals, such as wallabies, and increase penalties for illegal possession of such animals. There are about 30 people with wildlife permits in Pennsylvania that allow them to keep exotic animals.

"There's no need for anyone to own a wild animal," said the bill's sponsor, Rep. Edward Staback (D., Lackawanna), who added that he drafted the measure after several cases in which individuals with permits had been injured or killed by wild animals in their possession.

Contact Amy Worden at 717-783-2584 or aworden@phillynews.com, or follow on Twitter @inkyamy.

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