Golfer Cited for Cart Mayhem In Demise of Rare Prairie Dogs

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Golfer Cited for Cart Mayhem In Demise of Rare Prairie Dogs

Sunday, June 10, 2001

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

CEDAR CITY -- A Cedar City Utah man has been cited by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for allegedly trying to run over prairie dogs with a golf cart.  After a two-year investigation, Steve Mitchell, former president of the Cedar Ridge Golf Course Men's Association, has been served with a civil violation. No criminal charges have been filed.
He denies running down the prairie dogs.

Utah prairie dogs are listed as a threatened species and protected under the Endangered Species Act, enforced by the Fish and Wildlife Service.
A federal investigation began in 1999 when local biologists doing a routine count found there were 350 prairie dogs fewer than expected at the golf course.

Mitchell said he received a letter asking him to confess to four violations of the Endangered Species Act and to pay a $20,000 fine. Mitchell said he plans to do nothing about the civil action.

In addition to the golf-cart allegation, Mitchell is accused of destroying prairie dog habitat by covering their holes at the golf course while helping with maintenance there. Federal agents also claim he shot at the animals with a pellet gun.
 
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