Group protests trapping of prairie dogs at huge Castle Rock shopping development

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CASTLE ROCK, Colo. -- Castle Rock will soon be home to one of the biggest malls in the country, but a local group is trying to push the project back to save the prairie dogs that live there.

The Castle Rock Promenade is scheduled to open by the end of 2015 near I-25 and Meadows Parkway. It will be one of the biggest shopping complexes in the country. While it is expected to bring a major economic boost to the region, several residents have serious concerns.

“I live here because of the open spaces, the topography,” explains long-time resident Linda Vannosdrand. “It is absolutely gorgeous and they are ruining it.”

Several Castle Rock residents stood in protest of the mall Tuesday because the area where it will be built is home to one of the biggest prairie dog colonies in the state. Many worry they will die with the development.

"There are thousands of prairie dogs out here and their lives are just as meaningful as mine is to me," says prairie dog activist Deanna Meyer.

Protesters are asking Alberta Development Partners to push back their timeline until June.

“There is a way to do it right. The problem with that way is they need to wait until June because all the females are pregnant right now and when they do that they don’t come out of the burrows,” Meyer explains.

Alberta Development has hired a pest control company to begin placing traps over the prairie dog holes. It is not clear if they are being used to exterminate or relocate the animals. Attempts to contact the development company Tuesday were not successful.