Prairie dog relocation request tabled for now

By Emily Crowe

CNJ STAFF WRITER

ecrowe@cnjonline.com

After several months of back and forth between a citizens group and city commissioners, a request to relocate prairie dogs to a county in Texas was tabled indefinitely Thursday by the Clovis City Commission.

Susan Hubby, a representative of Citizens for Prairie Dogs, presented the commission with a letter from a judge in Ector County, Texas, stating lack of regulation or ordinances prohibited her from objecting to relocation of prairie dogs to private land in the county.

“As far as interpreting this letter as a support letter, I don’t think we can do that,” said Mayor David Lansford.

According to Lansford, the commission asked for endorsement or acceptance from a governing body.

“I would like to stop the policy of even considering the relocation of prairie dogs,” he said. “We need to quit the discussion. We need a city policy that basically just says we don’t relocate prairie dogs period.”

Hubby argued that Lansford was acting based on personal beliefs instead of what the public at large would want.

“I think we got what we asked for,” Commissioner Bobby Sandoval said. “I see no reason to turn this down now.”

Commissioner Randy Crowder detailed several conditions that the citizens group was asked to meet as part of the commission’s consideration, many of which he said were not satisfactory.

Crowder said due to lack of a solid timeframe or deadline to have the prairie dogs moved, as well as no letter from a governing body, the group’s package did not meet commission guidelines.

“Because I believe this is an incomplete package,” he said, “I believe this should be tabled indefinitely. I have to vote by what I have.”

The commission voted five to three in favor of tabling the request, with Commissioners Sandoval, Fidel Madrid and Sandra Taylor-Sawyer voting against the motion.

“We have fought a valiant battle against an unfair mayor and city council, with the exception of a few,” Hubby said.

Sandoval told Hubby he would bring the request back to the commission as a future agenda item if all conditions of their request could be met.