Rick and Bo Barnes: Prairie ‘rats’ a big problem for ranchers
Craig To the editor,
How about we rename "prairie dogs" to "prairie rats?"
Will that stop the needless pity parties and make some people realize how truly dangerous these rodents are?
I suggest that the people who are calling these "things" defenseless, go to any local ranch and spend a couple of weeks assessing the damage and danger these rats cause.
By being on the ranch on a daily basis, you will be able to live the way we do. You can go out to the fields, praying you don't fall in a hole or break an ankle or leg when one of the many underground tunnels cave in. You can be the one who has to put the family pet down because it has been bitten and contracted rabies or something worse, the plague.
Yes, this disease still is around and these rats carry it. Is this something you want or your wife, children or loved one to die from?
How about going out each morning and watching your yearly paycheck get smaller and smaller because you cannot sell your product because it has been bitten or stepped in a hole.
You can be the one who has to go out and beg, borrow and empty your pockets to fix the tractor or your truck after you trash the front driving over a tunnel that caves in.
We, as ranchers, already have fences to keep predators out, some being 8 feet tall.
Do you even have a clue as to how far down we would have to dig to keep those rats out of our pastures and fields? We would have to dig down to the earth's core and then hope those suckers don't tunnel through that.
Also, we as ranchers have the right to shoot anything that endangers our livestock. This is a Colorado State law, in case anyone has forgotten.
So, if you want to save these rats, I suggest you start rounding them up, take them to your house and keep them on your side of the fence.
Rick & Bo Barnes