Search for dogs that attacked guard llama continues

Posted Jan. 03, 2011, at 10:30 a.m.

MONMOUTH (MCT) — Police and animal control officers continue to search for a pair of dogs that attacked and injured a llama Friday evening.

Ivan Smith, owner of Snafu Acres, said he found two dogs attacking Abra the llama at about 4 p.m. on New Year’s Eve. The llama suffered deep puncture wounds and tears to his lips, ears, nose and neck.

Smith said he believes the dogs were pit bulls — one black and white, the other a solid color with a blue tint.

The 20-year-old llama was recovering and “seems to be doing fairly well,” Smith said Sunday night.

While he tried to keep the dogs away from the bleeding animal, a green SUV arrived, apparently looking for the dogs. Two occupants got out, and Smith said he shouted, “Get the dogs in the vehicle.”

Which is exactly what the pair did, before driving off without so much as asking what had happened. “They knew, judging from their reaction, that something had taken place,” Smith said.

Efforts to locate the dogs and their owners by Monmouth police, animal control officials and Smith have so far been unsuccessful.

“We had a few people come forward. Most of them were dead ends,” Monmouth Animal Control Officer Mike Costello said.

The attack “was pretty gruesome. There was quite a lot of blood,” Costello said. The owners of the dogs will be charged if found, he said, adding that officials must determine whether the owners have proper licenses for the dogs.

Abra serves as a guard llama, keeping watch over chickens out to pasture and scaring off coyotes and other potential predators at Snafu Acres, which produces free-range eggs and grass-fed beef, among other products. Llamas, which can stand up to six feet tall, are sometimes used to protect flocks of sheep on other farms, Smith said.

While llamas tend to approach unusual or unknown things, Abra was in a protective shelter when the dogs arrived on the farm, Smith said. Smith found dog prints inside the shelter, but the llama had escaped the shelter and was in the barnyard when Smith arrived after hearing Abra make a distress call.

“Generally, they’re very quiet, unless there’s something taking place,” Smith said.

Smith and his wife, Nancy, have created a Facebook page for the injured llama, allowing well-wishers to follow his recovery.

“He’s getting up there” in age, Smith said. But after talking with the veterinarian who treated Abra after the attack on Friday again on Sunday, Smith said, “He’s still optimistic, and so are we.”

Copyright (c) 2011, Sun Journal, Lewiston, Maine

Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

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