Target: Adams County Commissioner, Eva J. Henry
Goal: Immediately halt plans to exterminate the prairie dog community to combat the plague
Earlier this month a man in Adams County Colorado was infected with an extremely dangerous form of pneumonic plague. It is believed that the man contracted the disease from his dog, who probably picked it up from a flea that feeds on rodents like prairie dogs. Unfortunately, the dog died and the man is hospitalized, receiving life-saving treatment. In an extreme reaction, Adams County officials are considering wiping out colonies of prairie dogs in the hope that the deadly action will eliminate the threat of the plague.
Prairie dogs are commonly found throughout Colorado, but some areas are already attempting to evict the animals from their habitats by poisoning their colonies. The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) points out that this measure is not only inhumane, it is also ineffective. “Our thoughts are with the Adams County resident who became ill and lost his dog to the same disease. But getting rid of prairie dogs isn’t going to get rid of the sylvatic plague that has lived in the United States since the early 1900s,” says HSUS Prairie Dog Coalition Director Lindsey Sterling-Krank.
Even the Colorado Department of Public Health and the Environment advises against eliminating the prairie dog population. On the government agency’s website it states, “Poisoning of colony rodents such as prairie dogs should not be routinely employed because this releases fleas to the environment causing additional risk to people and domestic pets.” Instead, the Health Department recommends individual measures to prevent the spread of disease, such as keeping dogs leashed when camping, avoiding contact with dead animals and using insect repellent.
It is extremely unfortunate that a man is fighting for his life as the result of the plague, but to kill off the prairie dog population would be an extreme and ineffective solution. By signing the letter below, you will encourage Adams County Commissioner Eva J. Henry to look for humane solutions to fight the plague and dismiss any and all plans to exterminate prairie dogs.
Dear Ms. Henry,
I was sad to learn that an Adams County man is fighting for his life after being infected with a deadly plague. Though this is a tragedy, to kill off the area’s prairie dog population would be an inhumane overreaction. Even the Colorado Department of Public Health and the Environment advises against eliminating the prairie dog population.
Please choose a humane method for eliminating the plague in your area and do not exterminate helpless prairie dogs out of fear.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Asiir via WikiMedia Commons