About two dozen llamas are missing and suspected stolen from an exotic animal farm in Southern California after authorities say a break-in occurred earlier this week.
The Riverside County Sheriff’s Department said that the incident occurred early Monday on a 14-acre private farm in Perris when someone cut a lock on a fence on the property.
Deputies received a call around 6:30 a.m. “regarding numerous llamas and emus walking on Orange Avenue,” the department said in a statement.
Sheriff’s deputies and animal control officials were able to wrangle many of the loose animals back into the farm, but some 20 to 30 llamas were still on the loose and believed to have been stolen, the department said.
The investigation was ongoing as of Friday morning, with no suspects in custody, the department added.
KABC-TV reported the missing llamas are worth $1.6 million.
Riverside County Department of Animal Services has visited the property after receiving complaints, but there has been no evidence the animals were abused, KABC-TV reported.
The farm, which has llamas, emus, ostriches, buffalo and other livestock, has been the target of animal rights activists who believe the animals were mistreated, the TV stations reported.
“We have actually had full cooperation from the custodians; they’ve allowed us to do a walk-through, and they see plenty of food,” animal services spokesperson John Welsh told KMIR-TV. “We have never walked across an animal that’s abused or neglected, certainly not emaciated. We deal with this type of stuff all of the time and the animals seem to be of good weight.”
Read the original article by Ryan W. Miller at usatoday.com here.