LUBBOCK, TX - The continued expansion of the Hub City is pushing not only neighborhoods to the outskirts of town but also prairie dog habitats. Ethan Kelley, a pest control specialist for Bug Tech said the little critters are fighting to stay in town.
“We are seeing more of them and as far as new construction goes and outside of the city limits but they are fighting back. They are showing up in people's backyards and they are digging under people's houses. A lot of people with cattle and horses, that's a terrifying thought for them because if the cows and horses step in the hole it can break their leg, big concern for farmers and ranchers,” Kelley said.
Seth Pearson, a Natural Resource Specialist for the city said even though there are pest control specialists who work on controlling the population, they’re only legally allowed to kill prairie dogs certain times of the year.
“It goes back to the prairie dogs being a keystone species. So they provide a habitat for the burrowing owl and they are federally protected under the migratory bird treaty act so it's against a law to disturb their nest which is between April and September,” Pearson said.
Kelley said they respect the law but once October 1st hits, they will be out controlling the little critters.
“Other reasons we don't treat during that period is because we don't want to hurt ground owls and snakes because those are a non-targeted pest. So it would actually be unethical to kill them. We try to do it the most humane way possible and the safest way possible for everybody,” Kelley said.
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