Prairie Dogs Invade Arizona Elementary School Playground

Prairie Dogs Invade Arizona Elementary School Playground

Parents say they want the rodents gone before students return. Krystle Henderson reports.
(KPNX) An elementary school in Williams, Arizona is working to tackle a problem that's plagued the campus for decades: prairie dogs on the playground.

They've been a presence since the school was built, but recently their numbers have increased sharply.

School Board President Albert Parentau says the safety risks to students is too great. Prairie dogs are known to carry diseases like the plague, and kids can easily hurt themselves on the holes. He say's along with putting up special fencing to keep them out of the play areas, and banning play on the football field because of the holes.

They've made several attempts to remove them humanely, but recently someone's also been shooting them.

Parenteau says he doesn't object.

"I'd have to side with the safety of the kids," he says. "I'd like to see them all gone."

Reaction around the community is split.

"Yes they are a pest. Yes they are a nuisance, but there's a better way to handle that then to slaughter them like they did," says Robynn-Smith-eckel.

Kerry-Lynn Moede disagrees.

"We live in the mountains and there's varmints of all kinds everywhere. It's not that surprising to me that they'd shoot them. I think it's safer than poisoning them, as long as nobody's being shot in the process," she says.

The school board president also said that no kids have ever been hurt by the prairie dog holes, as far as he's aware.

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