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1-12-2011


Wallaby not welcome
back inside city limits

by Valerie Verkamp
Landmark reporter

The now-infamous wallaby, known to many as Noah, will not being welcomed back to Platte City.

That was the recommendation from the Platte City public safety subcommittee last week, and the board of aldermen Tuesday night affirmed the committee’s recommendation.

What that means is there will be no change to city policy, which currently prohibits exotic animals from being allowed in the city limits.

On Thanksgiving morning Officer Michael Reilly of the Platte City Police Department responded to the Hillview Nursing Center after receiving several calls--he originally thought were bogus--regarding kangaroo sightings.

When Officer Reilly arrived on the scene, staff members of the Hillview Nursing Center led him to a storage unit where the exotic animal had been contained after wandering inside. Officer Reilly contacted a veterinarian with the Kansas City Zoo, who identified the animal as a four-year-old-wallaby.

Lieutenant Detective Al DeValkenaere said, there is both a county ordinance, as well as a Platte City ordinance, prohibiting the harboring of exotic animals. As a result of the current ordinance, the wallaby has been detained at the Kansas City Zoo awaiting his fate.

James Wood, who is the owner of the wallaby, told authorities Noah escaped from his fence during an early morning feeding on Thanksgiving.

Wood has resided in Platte City for a little over a year on eight acres of land southwest of downtown Platte City.

During a public safety subcommittee meeting last month, members of the Wood family pleaded with city officials to amend the current ordinance regarding exotic pets.

After exploring three alternatives, the subcommittee unanimously recommended maintaining the current ordinance regarding exotic animals. The two alternative ideas city officials considered included drafting a specific exemption that would allow wallabies, as well as drafting a “conditional use” provision for exotic animals.

Dennis Gehrt, city administrator, said authorities thought it was a danger that if city officials made an exception in this case it would open the door to other exotic animals.