City Fights Fleas—and PETA

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Recently, Frederick, Colorado, implemented a city ordinance requiring private property owners to remove prairie dogs from their land. In the Board of Trustees Agenda Memorandum, the city notes concerns about bubonic plague and that prairie dogs are moving onto city parks and open fields where children play.

Numerous citizens have also complained to the city council about problems with invading prairie dogs. Thus, the city declared through Ordinance 1070 that the “rodent infestation was a public nuisance subject to suppression and abatement.” The full ordinance is at

The city also led the fight to remove these well-known disease and flea-spreading rodents from the city by poisoning two prairie dog towns within the city limits. Along with the ongoing work to rid Frederick of its infestation came a complaint from, you guessed it—PETA.

This outrageous animal rights group urged its followers across America to call and e-mail Frederick officials. PETA requested that the city use “habitat modification” to encourage the rodents to move elsewhere. No further details were provided on how to “modify habitat” and where and how these pesky, short-legged rodents could complete a move. We do know they are forbidden from riding the Trailways bus out of town!

To ensure more radical action, PETA’s release on the rodent roundup included an appeal to “forward this message widely.”  This effort inundated the city with hate e-mails. Undaunted, the new city ordinance took effect in March, 2012, and property owners who fail to comply after receiving an official notice could face $1,000 fines.