- Associated Press - Wednesday, November 5, 2014

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - A judge is striking down federal regulations that prohibit Cedar City residents from controlling prairie dogs on private property.

The residents say prairie dogs are overrunning parts of their southern Utah town, damaging the golf course, airport and cemetery and even interrupting funerals with their barking. They say the federal regulations keep them from doing anything to control the animals that could harm them.

Federal Judge Dee Benson says the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service can’t regulate the Utah prairie dog population on private land because the species is only found inside the state.

Regulators and animal protection groups say the prairie dogs are a threatened species with sophisticated communication skills and they need federal protection.

The Pacific Legal Foundation, which represented the residents, say protections for the animals should be worked out locally.

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