In Memory of the Castle Rock Prairie Dog's beautiful
land and living community:

Back in the winter of 2015, PPC's Executive Director, Deanna Meyer, became increasingly worried about this colony since it was the last large one left in Castle Rock living on 166 beautiful acres surrounded by developments.  She asked around about the fate of this colony and found out that there was a possible development in the works, but that it would be at least a year or more before anything happened. Several months later, an ad came out in a local paper stating that ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​ the nations largest mall was going to be built on top of this prairie dog colony. Meyer found out that she had very little time left to save this colony.

Instead of wringing her hands, Meyer launched a large campaign by   writting essays ,
starting petitions , hiring a lawyer, getting media involved and  raising funds to save this colony.
City Council meetings were frequented where hundreds of people would show up and give
beautifully moving speeches in a plea to save the prairie dogs at this site.
The Castle Rock City Council showed their true colors and refused to protect wildlife by approving 
the development without any consideration for the voices that asked them to ensure that the
prairie dogs, at minimum, were relocated.

After continually being ignored, advocates began drafting a referendum initiative to put the vote to
the people about the rezoning of the mall. At this time the mall developers hired Ronnie Purcella
with Animal and Pest Control Services to kill thousands of beautiful prairie dogs that had coexisted
with this prairie communtiy for centuries. First the developers put up traps to "donate" the prairie
dogs to the raptor facility.

A protest was given coverage at this time as Meyer smashed traps to protect the prairie dogs. After many advocates sabotaged traps from the site, Ronnie moved to his next planned phase and began poisoning the colony as soon as the weather allowed.  Protesters witnessed the atrocity for sevaral days and during that time, a lawsuit was filed and Stephen Capra came in and offered a relocation opportunity for the remaining survivors and a halt was put to the killings after 4 relentless days of dropping phoshine gas in their burrows. Capra and his crew began to rescue some surviving prairie dogs and advocates hit the street with the referendum. After 100 prairie dogs were taken from the site, there were still hundreds of remaining survivors that needed to be relocated, and the fate of the captured prairie dogs was not secured as they waited a destination for their new homes in stock tanks. 

Meanwhile, Sandy Nervig was working furiously to get a permit approval to relocate the "tank" prairie dogs to Meyer's land. Colorado Parks and Wildlife was planning on "donating" all of the prairie dogs that were saved to a raptor facility where, after several weeks of suffering in tanks, all would be gassed to death and fed to birds of prey. Advocates would not accept this reality and they petitioned the governnor and CPW until they relented and agreed to allow a relocation to Meyer's land in Sedalia Colorado

After that success, the referendum finally gained the necessary signatures to put the zoning of the mall back to the original zoning (which would still allow the mall to be build with minor adjustments) or to put up the zoning change for a vote to the people. The liklihood was that the council would decide to keep the old zoning and not put this up for a vote so the developers could begin with their construction as soon as possible. Understanding this, Meyer and other local advocates decided to work with the developers in order to save the remaining hundreds of prairie dogs on the building site where they could rejoin their family on Meyer's property.

Today, hundreds of prairie dogs are living happliy as mountain meadow dogs. Every moment we spend with them, we remember the courage and power of advocates in helping to save the life of this colony, and we also remember the devastating loss of all the prairie communties throughout the West. 

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