Prairie dog management act repealed

Lawmakers voted April 18 to repeal the Black-Tailed Prairie Dog Management Act.

The act, passed by the Legislature in 2012, authorizes county boards to adopt and carry out coordinated management programs to control black-tailed prairie dog colonies on property within the county.

<a href='http://news.legislature.ne.gov/dist11' target='_blank' title='Link to the website of Sen. Ernie Chambers'>Sen. Ernie Chambers</a>
Sen. Ernie Chambers

The law requires a landowner to effectively manage prairie dog colonies on his or her property to prevent them from expanding to adjacent property if the owner objects to the expansion. If a landowner does not provide evidence that a colony is being managed within 60 days of a county board’s notice, the county may enter upon the property to manage the prairie dogs.

The landowner would be responsible for any expenses, and unpaid assessments would become a lien on the property. Landowners who do not comply also could receive a fine of up to $1,500. The law allows a county to file a foreclosure suit to recover the debt.

Omaha Sen. Ernie Chambers, sponsor of LB449, has said the act violates property owners’ rights by allowing government agents to come onto their land without notice when a neighbor makes an unverified complaint about prairie dogs on the property.

Senators voted 26-13 to pass the bill, repealing the law.

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