BIXBY landowner moves prairie dogs out of town

Monday, August 27th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

BIXBY, Okla. (AP) _ A colony of prairie dogs who enamored residents and caused a landowner nothing but trouble were en route to a new home Monday.

A group of specialists used soapy water to flush out the creatures from the tunnels they built on Condell Pollard's land. They were being taken to an animal reserve in Wynnewood.

Residents who enjoyed watching the prairie dogs' antics and feeding them tidbits from a nearby pizza restaurant had been fighting to keep them in the area.

Pollard initially agreed to postpone the relocation so the group could raise funds to move the animals to a nearby orchard and restaurant. He later changed his mind.

Earlier this month, police accused Pollard of using his pickup truck to assault a photojournalist who was covering a meeting with the group.

Pollard declined comment on Monday's relocation, saying only ``I don't know where they're going. I asked them not to tell me.''

Relocation was halted Monday when an Oklahoma Department of Wildlife game warden discovered the specialists' hunting licenses had expired.

The warden wrote several citations and then issued the needed licenses, said Mike McAllister, an information and education specialist with the agency. The group then resumed pumping soapy water down the holes.

``As the burrows fill up with water, the prairie dogs come scooting out,'' he said.

But not all of the animals were caught.

The specialists expect to return another day to complete the relocation.