Neighbors hopping mad over loose kangaroo
A creature described as a wallaby, or kangaroo, hopped through pastures in Silver Creek for about two weeks before being captured Thursday afternoon.
"Close the gate," Summit County Animal Control Director Bob Bates yelled as he chased the nearly 4-foot-tall animal into a corral in Silver Creek resident Alison Weyher’s backyard.
Weyher said she spotted the creature in a nearby field around 6:30 a.m.
"I thought it was a crane out there and then it hopped," she said, adding, "I had heard there was a loose kangaroo in the neighborhood."
Silver Creek resident Greg Pack keeps two kangaroos as pets, said Jane Coleman, who owns a home on Wasatch Way in the rustic western Summit County neighborhood.
"We couldn’t believe it," Coleman said. "I just don’t think he should be having these exotic animals & he has a camel, emus and an exotic deer."
Though people in Silver Creek own horses, chickens and cows, kangaroo and wallaby sightings are rare in the Snyderville Basin, she added.
"When I talked to Jane, I thought, Jane, you’ve got to be making this up," Silver Creek resident Carla Davis said.
Bates drew a crowd Thursday around 11 a.m. as he cornered the stray creature near Weyher’s home.
"I’m on the same level as they are," Bates joked when asked about his reputation as a friend of animals. "The kangaroo was a little stressed out, but you can see it’s in pretty good shape."
Pack’s "caretaker" later recovered the animal, Bates said, adding that Pack was vacationing this week in California as his kangaroo raided barns in Silver Creek.
Davis blamed the kangaroo for causing an injury to her horse’s leg when the horse was spooked in a stable several nights ago.
"[The horse] is going to be OK, but a kangaroo can cause injury or it could get run over," she said. "I just feel bad for it. It’s scared, it’s thirsty, it’s tired."
The escaped kangaroo was perhaps first reported to a Summit County Sheriff’s Office dispatcher June 28.
"[Pack] has several exotic animals and owns his own tranquilizer gun," a Sheriff’s Office incident report states.
A dispatcher received another call about a lost kangaroo July 6.
"I thought it was maybe BS," Bates said, adding that he was told about the situation last week. "I thought, uh, somebody’s been drinking."
He is still determining whether Pack is allowed to keep wallabies or kangaroos in Silver Creek.
The animals are prohibited in Utah unless specially permitted by the state Division of Wildlife Resources, DWR Mammals Coordinator Kevin Bunnell said.
Foreign species can spread diseases or displace native wildlife, he added.
"It could cause big problems," Bunnell said.
The division was unable to determine Friday whether the Silver Creek man is permitted to keep the exotic animals, he said.
"In the best interest of our native animals, it’s not a good idea to bring species, that are exotic to Utah, in from the outside," Bunnell added.
The Utah Wildlife Board must approve applications for permits to keep exotic animals in the state, he said.
"We’re looking into the situation to see if he can really have it or not," Bates said, adding that "circus stuff" was seen inside a garage at Pack’s home in Silver Creek.
Summit County residents have kept exotic reptiles and ferrets in their houses, but Bates said, before last week, he hadn’t received calls about kangaroos.
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