Nearly 40 Llamas Found Dead

By Max Resnik

April 28, 2011 Updated Apr 28, 2011 at 6:00 PM EDT

HUNTINGTON COUNTY, Ind. (Indiana’s NewsCenter) – The Huntington County Sheriff’s Department, Huntington County Animal Care and Control and the Indiana State Board of Animal Health raided a farm today where nearly 40 llamas were found dead.

Almost 40 more were found starving, barely hanging on. No food could be found on the compound. Tubs supposed to be filled with clean drinking water were almost empty, just containing drops from this week’s rainstorms. In one pen, what appears to be a straw bed for the llamas, nearly two feet in height, is nothing more than a pile of feces that has been built up over time.

Thomas Andrew, owner of the property and the llamas, has been arrested and charged with animal neglect and failure to properly dispose of dead animals.

His farm was found today riddled with feces, bones from dead animals, decaying carcasses, burn spots where animals had been cremated and minimal resources for the animals to survive. Despite the llamas’ thick fur and appearance of good health, the only things that lie beneath the fur were skin and bone.

Shelly Chivas with the Indiana State Board of Animal Health said that she has seen situations like this one but never with llamas. Today she said, “They are extremely thin. They have extreme manure build-up in their pens. There's no evidence of food on the property. We don't know how long it's been since they've been fed. They do have water-- rain water and some of the tubs have been filled from that, but they're in extremely poor condition."

Chivas said complaints about Andrew began June 2010. Those initial complaints were about care for the animals. By October 2010, the dying became the dead and carcasses began filling the farm.

Today, authorities saw at least 36 dead llamas and at least 44 llamas whose health was of obvious concern. Some of the dead llamas, spread throughout the mud, were just beginning to decay. Others were already nothing but skeletons.

Shannon Houston’s sister is a neighbor of Andrew. She said it was upon her visit during Easter that she drove by with her granddaughter and noticed the dead llamas from the street. She said, “We came to visit on Easter and we came down by here and you could see the dead llamas laying in the yard. That's my whole connection to it. This is animal cruelty in the worst way."

If you are interested in rescue or adoption, the Huntington County Animal Care and Control is asking for your help. Please click the link “Adopt a Llama” for more information.

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