Grant McGee: Prairie dogs get no love

The Lady of the House and I were driving by a prairie dog town some time ago. It was your typical, standard-issue, prairie dog town in a vacant lot in the city limits.

Prairie dogs were running about, some were foraging by the side of the road, others were standing guard.

But this dog town was different, it had a sign, a sign folks driving by could see.

There was a hand-painted drawing of a prairie dog with cross-hairs over it and the words “SLOW DOWN I’M AIMIN’.”

“That reminds me of this guy I knew in Arizona,” I said. “He was on the local SWAT team. Every spring he’d pack up his stuff and go vacationing up around Dalhart, you know, up there in the northern panhandle? Anyway he thought it was great fun to ‘clear out’ prairie dog towns with his high-powered rifle.”

“Why do people hate prairie dogs?” asked The Lady of the House.

“They’re such cute little guys. They look like little Buddhas sitting out there.”

“What I’ve always heard is the ranchers don’t like them because cattle step in the holes, break legs and have to be put down,” I said.

“Well that’s just a vacant lot, not a ranch. And I don’t see any cows,” said The Lady of the House.

“Some folks say they eat all the grass,” I added.

“Well that just saves the cost of mowing,” she said.

“People complain that snakes hole-up in prairie dog towns,” I said.

“Don’t snakes eat rats and mice? Isn’t that a good thing in a business area?” she went on.

“What about those residential areas that are complaining about hordes of prairie dogs invading their backyards?” I asked.

“Maybe they could get a wiener-dog to defend their property,” she said. “Nothing wrong with a good wiener-dog.”