CLOVIS, N.M. (KRQE) – O.G. Potter Memorial Park in Clovis looks normal from afar, but with a closer look, you’ll see prairie dogs peeking their heads out of the ground. Residents say they’re invading and causing concern.
“See we play kick ball. They kick the ball and we run and we don’t want them to fall in the hole and break their ankle or twist their ankle or something,” said Clovis resident Shakila Mcclendon.
Holes are appearing around the park and becoming a problem for not only park-goers, but residents who live nearby.
Neighbors in Clovis are concerned about the growing population of prairie dogs eating crops, taking over the city pool, and possibly carrying diseases.
Vector Control Officer T.I. Taylor said, “The actual prairie dog itself does not carry the disease. If we get a colony that’s supposedly spreading the disease it’s because of fleas.”
Four years ago, city commissioners declared prairie dogs a public nuisance. That means if they’re on private property, it’s up to homeowners to take care of the problem.
“Some of the stuff that you can run a prairie dog off with you can buy at a local department store such as coyote urine, fox urine,” explained Taylor.
But what about city property? The city says there’s only so much they can do, since technically the prairie dogs were here first.
“It’s becoming more prevalent now because we’re invading what used to be their home,” said Marcus Brice, City of Clovis Compliance Officer.
They estimate there are about 1,000 prairie dogs in the city causing problems and they have even expanded their territory onto the Clovis Community College campus.
Getting rid of prairie dogs is not easy. Other cities have poisoned them, some prairie dogs groups have come in, and captured and moved them. The City of Clovis wouldn’t say how they’re considering handling the problem.