It all started in the early 1990s when Michele Natalino was given her first prairie dog. Now, she has 19 total living in her two-bedroom apartment in Lubbock.
“They are very demanding pets. Most of these were rescued from the pet trade. They were either the last ones in the pet store, or there were others who people have given me,” Natalino said.
She said she rescues the prairie dogs from people who previously purchased them as pets but decided they were too difficult to take care of.
“They are so misunderstood, and it’s heartbreaking. That is why I posted in all the Facebook groups saying, ‘If you have a prairie dog and don’t want it, please don’t let it go (back into the wild) because it won’t survive,” Natalino said.
Natalino has 17 males and two females. She said all the males are neutered to prevent any re-population.
The City of Lubbock said there are no laws banning Natalino from having 19 prairie dogs because they are considered rodents.
Natalino does re-home several of the prairie dog but holds onto them until she finds the right home.
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