"Make the compassionate decision to use an animatronic Phil and retire the live groundhogs who are used for Groundhog Day activities to a sanctuary," Vaughan wrote. "Tradition is no excuse for cruelty."
Bill Deeley, the president of the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club, called the request "crazy."
"Phil is probably treated better than the average child in Pennsylvania," Deeley said. "He's got air conditioning in the summer, his pen is heated in winter ... He has everything but a TV in there. What more do you want?"