In southern Utah, folks have just about had it with prairie dogs and the federal government. Residents say the rodent has reproduced so much that it's a complete nuisance. And there's little they can do about it.
In 1973, the Utah prairie dog was labeled "endangered" under federal law. In 1984, the species had thrived enough to be upgraded to "threatened" status under the Endangered Species Act.
But a quarter-century later?
"It's a plague, as far as I'm concerned," says Parowan native Bob Talbot as he stood atop a hill overlooking farmland that's come alive with prairie dogs popping out of holes.
"They're just ruining the fields, building lots, everything else around," Talbot gripes.
In town, realtors say the prairie dog hurt their business during the housing boom. "People from out of state actually think they're cute," says Cindy Smith of CS Real Estate Group. "But once we tell them you have to pay to get them cleared. ...it's a whole different story."
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