A Utah federal district court in November sided with Utah property owners, voiding federal protections for prairie dogs. Environmentalists fear that the decision leaves room open to strike down the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The decision stemmed from property owners in Cedar City fearing that endangered species protections for the animals would, essentially, allow them to over run the city and enlisted the help of the Pacific Legal Foundation. The PLF argued that since Utah’s prairie dog species are unique to the state the federal government lacked jurisdiction to extend ESA protections. The Associated Press reports the US Justice Department stated they will appeal the decision.
The property owners claimed that prairie dogs have damaged Cedar City’s golf course, airport and cemetery. Outside gatherings (such as funerals) have been interrupted fur to prairie dog barking. If a federal appeals court upholds the Utah District Court ruling the case could go to the Supreme Court. After Utah federal judge Dee Benson issued her ruling, state wildlife officials culminated a plan to remove and, if need be, kill up to 6,000 prairie dogs. The species’ numbers grew exponentially after the animal was given ESA protections and the result has been a disaster for Cedar City residents.
If a prairie dog or animal belonging to an endangered species enters private property, depending on what state someone lives in, the property owner has to meet a number of requirements before they can legally shoot to kill it. In many cases and by default, the animal in question has more legal rights than a property owner. In this case, short of if a prairie dog attacks a person, if a prairie dog starts burrowing in someone’s yard or attacks the owner’s dog or cat and someone shoots and kills it, that individual could end up in big legal trouble.
Environmentalists and the Obama Justice Department are totally fine with the consequences or the damage Utah prairie dogs have done to places like Cedar City. The end goal of the green movement is to make life a living hell on Earth for humans and what better way to do that than attack people’s ability to prosper as evidenced by their owning a home or golf course. Forty years of a law like the Endangered Species Act remaining on the books when the result is not only property damage but the potential of attacks against domesticated animals or ruining people’s lives overall is no excuse to continue enforcement much less keep the law on the books.