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Runaway Wallaroo Named Wally Rescued from Illinois River After Two-Hour Chase with Police

Georgia Slater
·2-min read

Scott Anderson/NewsTribune via AP

Illinois police were quick to hop into action this week when a runaway wallaroo escaped from its owner.

On Wednesday, authorities in Peru, a city about 95 miles southwest of Chicago, teamed up with firefighters and residents in what ended up being a two-hour chase to rescue a wallaroo on the loose, according to the Associated Press.

The wallaroo — an Australian animal that is larger than a wallaby but smaller than a kangaroo — named Wally got away from his owner in LaSalle County.

Peru Police Chief Doug Bernabei told ABC Chicago that their 911 center had been getting calls from people "literally reporting a kangaroo running down U.S. Route 6 in traffic."

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After arriving at the scene, Bernabei shut down nearby roads so that the marsupial wouldn't get hit by a car. Eventually, Wally had bounced his way to the Illinois River and into the freezing water.

"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 the outlet.

Two fishermen were spotted in the water and Bernabei told the Peoria Journal Star that police were screaming "get your net out, get your net out" at them in the hopes that one of them could catch Wally.

One of the men successfully grabbed Wally with a net and secured him in the boat, ending the chase.

Scott Anderson/NewsTribune via AP

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The men brought Wally to shore where veterinarian Dr. Allison Spayer from a nearby animal hospital was waiting for the animal.

"He was so cold we couldn't register his temperature on the thermometer," she told ABC Chicago. "We warmed him up. We dried him off."

Wally was treated at Bridgeview Animal Hospital and was released back to his owner after a couple of hours.

Police said they are planning to verify that Wally's owner had a valid permit to own a wallaroo.

"Today is probably the best day of the year so far," Bernabei said after helping Wally. "There was a lot of people cheering then, it was a neat thing to get him out of the river and get him to a warm place and get him treated."