PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — A couple’s pet elk that escaped from a farm in Greene County is now at the center of controversy.

The elk has been located across the state line in West Virginia, but its owners aren’t allowed to bring it back.

The animal escaped from the Richter family farm last year when someone accidentally left a gate open. The couple searched and searched for the elk and eventually learned that it has been spotted roaming in Marshall County, West Virginia.

The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture won’t allow them to bring the elk back because of concerns that the animal may have contracted chronic wasting disease, which is similar to mad cow disease and very contagious.

“If they won’t let us bring it back into Pennsylvania, and they’re saying I’m responsible for it over there,” said George Richter. “I don’t know what to do. I really don’t. I’m at a loss.”

Concern that the West Virginia Department of Natural Resources would kill the elk has sparked a Facebook page.

More than 190 people have “liked” the “Save the Pleasant Valley Elk” page.

One woman posted: “Anything we can do to help the Richter family get their pet elk back?”

A man wrote: “I wish I had a farm. I would take it!”

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