LUBBOCK, Texas — Folks all across the Hub City are familiar with the sight and sounds of prairie dogs, but not all seem to be fans of these furry critters.
The city’s Parks and Recreation Department discovered two prairie dogs near Prairie Dog Town in North Lubbock that were shot with blow darts in just the last month.
“Anytime this kind of thing happens to an innocent animal it’s disconcerting and it’s irritating,” said Park Development Manager, Ronny Gallagher.
The first prairie dog’s injury seemed to be a superficial, but the second prairie dog found has a much deeper wound.
Both darts, according to Parks and Recreation, appeared to not have been filled with any toxin and the injuries were not immediately life-threatening to the animals.
However, Gallagher said he’s still at a loss as to why someone would do this.
“People have different ideas of what they might want to do that might be enjoyable. I don’t know. I don’t see it, but that’s me,” said Gallagher. “You’re hurting and innocent animal that doesn’t deserve that kind of activity.”
Darting a prairie dog within city limits is against city ordinances, so the Parks and Recreation Department has asked the Lubbock Police to patrol the area to deter this kind of activity.
But as for helping the prairie dog, Parks and Recreation is running into a bit of trouble.
“With prairie dogs, it’s hard to do much of anything because their main defense is to dive down that hole. Really, the only way we have to try and capture them is to flood the burrow and then they come out. The problem with flooding the burrow is that it saturates the burrow, gets everything wet, gets the prairie dog wet and they have issues with hypothermia. Once hypothermia sets in you loose the other inhabitants of the burrow,” said Gallagher.
But on top of it all, while it happened inside a city park, prairie dogs are considered a state wildlife resource putting into the jurisdiction of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.
So while they plan to watch and wait for now, Gallagher said there is still no excuse to hurt an innocent creature.
“I don’t see doing it for no reason just to harass an animal. It’s wrong,” said Gallagher.
The Parks and Recreation Department said if you see this happen anywhere within city limits make sure to call 911.