The Plague Is Making Its Comeback Through Prairie Dogs
Residents of Colorado are currently under advisory due to small populations of prairie dogs that happen to be carrying the bubonic plague. The prairie dogs having the plague aren't the story here, countless stories of their disease sharing shenanigans pop up every year... The real story is that this problem is now smack dab in the middle of a giant metropolis, Denver.... which makes me think about Elmer Thomas Park, the people living directly across the street, and anyone who walks the trails there. Especially those with pets looking for a little recreation.
Don't get me wrong, prairie dogs aren't producing the plague. Just like the great outbreak of 'Black Death' that killed upwards of 200 million people, it's the tiny fleas that feast on rodent flesh that spread this disease around. If you're unlucky enough to have latch onto you as you exercise in the park, you become the winner of the worlds worst prize.
You might be saying "Well they ought to just kill off the prairie dogs and be done with it..." And I get where you're coming from, but that might be the worst idea of them all. Without a healthy population of prairie dogs to sustain them, those fleas will seek out new hosts to feed on. So, in a way, the prairie dogs are doing us a favor. Unknowingly martyring themselves to protect us.
Does that mean we should let them be? No. And I know it's an unpopular opinion... I remember the outrage every little snowflake poured over the city officials the last time we all talked about getting rid of the prairie dogs... but at some point you just have to accept that while it may be nature, there's nothing natural about brewing a big ole pot of Black Death in your own urban neighborhood. I usually compare it to a person who does nothing to further the research of cancer until they actually get it... You may like the prairie dogs, but you'll hate them when you end up quarantined in your very own hazmat unit. Do you really want to become one of those seven people that die from the plague every year?
Plus, with all the prairie dogs gone, there won't be any of the giant holes to sprain your ankles in. Then we can just go back to railing on people who don't pick up their dogs feces. Honestly, I know it's gross, but pet ownership is all about responsibility. Grab a bag and get all up in it.