Vandals, Prairie Dogs destroying park decorations - KSWO, Lawton, OK- Wichita Falls, TX: News, Weather, Sports. ABC, 24/7, Telemundo -

Vandals, Prairie Dogs destroying park decorations

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LAWTON Okla_ Some vandals who actually live in Lawton's Elmer Thomas Park are accused of trying to steal Christmas, one gnaw at a time.

Holiday in the Park employees say prairie dogs, along with human vandals, are making it especially difficult this year to keep the lights strung and decorations hung. While people have been accused of stealing or destroying several displays, employees say the prairie dogs are responsible for eating through hundreds of feet of electrical cord leaving some displays in the dark. 

The thousands of prairie dogs that call Elmer Thomas Park home are considered rodents, and like mice or rats, they like to chew on anything in sight. Holiday in the Park employees can't control what these animals do in the park, but they hope they can discourage human vandals from adding to the growing problem.

"Prairie Dogs are chewing the extension cords up," Holiday in the Park President Bill Davis said. "We have not seen any dead ones from that experience, but I'm sure they got a jolt."

He said these furry vandals are creating a big problem he said sadly a bigger problem is human vandalism.

"They're going where the soldiers are kicking the flood lights out; they're stealing the displays. Dopey is somewhere around town we'd like him to come home. They come along and unscrew the bulbs and throw them on the pavement to hear them pop."

He said people have reported witnessing the vandalism but are doing nothing to stop it.

"They see activity or mischief, but they just walk away. They don't say anything to other adults or call police who'd be here lickety-split."

Davis said while no one can be held accountable for the actions of these prairie dogs, he doesn't "Think they are hungry. Most of them are pretty fat, so they are just being a nuisance. It gives them something to do other than dig more holes."

Someone is responsible for the actions of human vandals.

"Respect is taught, and if we don't do that then we're turning into chaos. A lot of the vandals don't have anything to do. Their parents drop them off and let them run wild through the park. I see that everyday."

Davis said these lights belong to the community and that we should all take responsibility for them. He said if the vandalism continues, the threat of shutting down Holiday in the Park is very real.

Police said vandals could face hefty fines and even jail time. They say throughout the holidays they receive several reports of stolen or vandalized decorations. 

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