The search for Jeff, the missing wallaby, continued over the weekend in Hattiesburg, with local businesses stepping up to help.
Jeff escaped Wednesday night from his home in the Acadia Oaks subdivision — somewhere in the area around Cole and Kingsmill roads.
Jeff may have been spotted Sunday evening in the Lake Serene area, but is still missing.
Logan Whitehead, Jeff’s owner, was on vacation at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, when he was alerted to his pet’s disappearance.
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He was alerted to Jeff’s disappearance by his roommate, Lance Johnson.
“He has escaped before through a little hole in the fence,” Johnson said in an earlier story. “This time he pushed it to where he could get out.”
Pet wallabies are legal in Mississippi, as there is no code prohibiting adoption of pets that are not inherently dangerous.
If spotted, Jeff may run away if approached.
“They are very timid animals,” Whitehead said.
Parris Jewelers is offering a $250 gift certificate to the store for anyone who finds Jeff. “We just try to support the local community in every way we can,” said sales associate Christina Hatch. “(Jeff’s) been missing several days now, maybe by offering a reward we can help find him.”
The store also has a large Facebook reach, so Hatch said the store hopes more people will become aware of Jeff’s situation and help find him.
In addition, Magnolia Graphics and Design is offering a $200 cash reward to help find Jeff.
Owner Lance Sanderford said after he saw Parris Jewelers offer a reward, he wanted to help by offering a cash reward as well.
“I thought maybe if we beef that (reward) up, they would be encouraged to stop and call for help and wait, not just drive by and take a picture and say they saw him,” he said. “I want to make it more valuable to turn him in than to keep him. Maybe some other businesses might follow suit and offer a reward.”
Sanderford, a former marine, said he has two daughters that mean the world to him, but he also is a big animal lover.
“Animals are my kryptonite,” he said. “When I saw the pictures of Jeff in his T-shirt, he was so dang cute, and I just thought about him out there all by himself.”
Sanderford said he and his family have been out looking for Jeff themselves, hoping he is found and returned to his owner.
Sanderford said if Jeff is found and no one claims the reward, he will donate to Whitehead, in case Jeff needs medical attention or has other needs.
“I just want the little guy to get found,” he said. “I saw a need and wanted to help out.”
How to help
If you see Jeff the wallaby, do not approach him. Place a slice of bread or banana on the ground and let him approach to investigate. He will be easier to capture.
Handle Jeff with care. His arms are small and fragile, owner Logan Whitehead said.
Contact Hub City Humane Society at 601-596-2206; Whitehead at 601-297-8052; or Kayla Graham at 601-543-3583.