The Student News Site of Colorado State University

The Rocky Mountain Collegian

The Student News Site of Colorado State University

The Rocky Mountain Collegian

The Student News Site of Colorado State University

The Rocky Mountain Collegian

Print Edition
Letter to the editor submissions
Have a strong opinion about something happening on campus or in Fort Collins? Want to respond to an article written on The Collegian? Write a Letter to the Editor by following the guidelines here.
Follow Us on Twitter
How Can Colorado Quarterback Shedeur Sanders Improve For the 2025 NFL Draft?
How Can Colorado Quarterback Shedeur Sanders Improve For the 2025 NFL Draft?
June 6, 2024

Colorado quarterback Shedeur Sanders stands out as a prime prospect for the 2025 NFL Draft, and it’s no surprise he's the current favorite...

Prairie dog colony euthanized in Loveland for new county building

Larimer County has begun the

controversial process of building a new county building in Loveland that has eliminated a prairie dog colony.


A prairie dog colony of roughly 250 were euthanized in early March by Larimer County in order to build a new county building. (Collegian file photo)

The county building will be located on the corner of East 1st Street and Denver Avenue in the City of Loveland. The prairie dog colony of roughly 250 lived on that plot of land, and the County was faced with removing the animals.

Early March, the County began using a lethal method to remove the prairie dogs after months of relocation discussion.

Northern Colorado Prairie Dog Advocates (NCPDA) worked with both the Prairie Dog Coalition of the Humane Society of the United States and the County to make an attempt to relocate the prairie dogs. The two groups spoke at public meetings with the City of Loveland Planning Commission, the Open Lands Advisory Board and the Larimer County Commissioners.

The County had a strict deadline with the contractor to begin building, and so the advocates had a narrow window of time to find a new home for the animals.

“(The County Open Lands) have a long standing policy of not relocating prairie dogs on our open spaces because they have a tendency to leave the property and populate neighboring properties,” wrote Steve Johnson, the Larimer County Commissioner, in an email to the Collegian.

The County asked the advocates to find private landowners who would take the colony onto their land.

“We were willing to pay them to move the animals to a suitable habitat if they could find a place,” Johnson wrote. “They could not.”

The NCPDA approached suitable property owners within the County as to whether or not they would take the prairie dogs onto their land, but could not find any who were willing.

“When we were unsuccessful in trying to find private land, (the county) declined to do anything else and moved forward to kill the colony,” wrote Ashley Waddell, a representative for the NCPDA  an email to the Collegian.


Waddell wrote that she is disappointed with the outcome.

“I feel such a connection to this place and our wildlife, and it breaks my heart to know that our public servants don’t share these Colorado values,” Waddell wrote.

Noelle Guernsey, a representative of the Prairie Dog Coalition, says the group is similarly disappointed.

“Unfortunately, the responsibility of securing land for a release site was put on local citizens, whereas it would have been great to see the County working proactively to provide or help secure a release site for their wildlife on their land,” Guernsey wrote in an email to the Collegian.

The cost of the removal was around $16,000, and the cost to relocate would have been $20,000, according to a report by 9news.

“For just a bit more we could have moved them and allowed them to thrive, helping so many other wildlife species in the process,” Waddell wrote.

Both groups of advocates preferred that prairie dogs be relocated rather than euthanized because of their ecological benefit.

Waddell emphasized the recently reintroduced black-footed ferret population to the Soapstone Prairie as a reason to keep prairie dogs thriving.

“What many people don’t realize is that the ferrets are endangered in the first place because of prairie dogs being killed,” Waddell wrote. “A ferret’s diet is over 90 percent prairie dogs, so in order to ensure the success of this recovering species, we need to continue to save prairie dogs too.”

Guernsey supported this position.

“Prairie dogs are a keystone species, which means that they play an important role in prairie ecosystems that includes nine wildlife species that depend on prairie dogs and over 100 other species that are associated with the presence of prairie dogs,” Guernsey wrote.

Guernsey mentioned that the citizens in Colorado are worried about the future of prairie dogs across the state.

“We receive weekly, often daily, calls and emails from concerned citizens throughout the prairie dog range that are watching colonies disappear from the landscape, including concerns about this colony,” Guernsey wrote.

Collegian reporter Jym Cox can be reached at or on Twitter @jym2233.

View Comments (3)
More to Discover

Comments (3)

When commenting on The Collegian’s website, please be respectful of others and their viewpoints. The Collegian reviews all comments and reserves the right to reject comments from the website. Comments including any of the following will not be accepted. 1. No language attacking a protected group, including slurs or other profane language directed at a person’s race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, social class, age, physical or mental disability, ethnicity or nationality. 2. No factually inaccurate information, including misleading statements or incorrect data. 3. No abusive language or harassment of Collegian writers, editors or other commenters. 4. No threatening language that includes but is not limited to language inciting violence against an individual or group of people. 5. No links.
All The Rocky Mountain Collegian Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • P

    PamMay 3, 2023 at 8:42 am

    Very sad that these creatures have no place that they can live without man destroying them. If you ask me, humans are the invasive species. Greedy, uncaring, killers.

  • K

    Karen LeeMar 29, 2017 at 8:50 am

    Euthanized? Were they ill? I think the word is murdered. Sentient beings murdered due to money and greed. A biological and ethical crime.

  • N

    Natasha WingMar 24, 2017 at 3:36 pm

    Disappointing that the county is taking this stance. If they opened up their public lands to relocation, this wouldn’t have happened. People think that prairie dogs are plentiful while the fact is their habitats are shrinking due to development. Has anyone driven out by the airport off-parking areas? Tons of development, and prairie dog colonies being plowed under.