Oklahoma family offers reward to solve alpaca killing
Moved by the cruelty of the crime, an Oklahoma family started a drive to collect reward money with hopes of solving a case in Delavan.
On Oct. 10, Tana Ward noticed one of her baby alpacas was missing from the pasture at Willow Tan Farm on County O north of Delavan. She found the 5-day-old baby alpaca, called a cria, beheaded and laying in the pasture.
The alpaca community has stirred uneasily since the incident, and Jess and Cookie Bowers of Owasso, Okla., felt the need to do something about it.
The two have started a collection to offer a reward for information leading to the arrest of the person or persons responsible for the beheading.
Using Web sites to get the word out, they’ve collected $4,500 from 110 alpaca breeders in 32 states, Canada, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. They will add it to the $2,500 offered by the Humane Society of the United States and the $500 offered by the Animal Defense Council.
“It’s just sick. Absolutely sick,” Jess said of the slaying. “That’s pretty much it. We were so disgusted with it. We see occasions throughout the years where we hear of a pit bull attack or coyotes or a mountain lion; something that happens in nature. Something like this really stuck out as sick.”
Ward was moved by the gesture.
“It actually brought tears to my eyes,” she said. “So many of the people who contributed have lost animals of their own to illness or premature birth. Just the fact that so many supported and wanted to contribute to the fund, it just brought tears to my eyes.”
Baby alpacas can be worth several thousand dollars, Jess said. Adult breeding alpacas, desired for their soft fleece used in making clothes, can sell for tens of thousands of dollars.
However, “their greatest loss is not in dollars. It’s the loss of a baby like that,” Jess said. “Even when a natural death occurs, they’re like a part of our family.”
The Bowers wanted to at least match the amount offered by the Humane Society. They’ve exceeded that amount and are expecting more donations. They opened a special bank account for the cause.
If the perpetrators are not caught, Jess surveyed the donors about what to do with the reward money. Some suggested giving part of it to the Wards, while others think it should go to alpaca research, he said.
Police have no leads in the continuing investigation, sheriff’s Capt. Scott McClory said. Investigators believe humans killed the alpaca because of how cleanly the head was severed. There were no signs of an animal attack.
Ward hopes the reward helps lead to an arrest.
“I can’t say enough thanks and how much it means to me,” Ward said of the growing funds set aside for the cause.
She thanked the people who have donated and gone out of their way to help.
Anyone with information on the Oct. 10 alpaca beheading can call the Walworth County Crime Stoppers tip line at 1-800-242-7463.
For more information about contributing to the reward fund, contact Jess and Cookie Bowers at the Acres of Love Alpaca Ranch, 11006 N. 92nd East Ave., Owasso, OK 74055 or call (918) 327-3519.
Last updated: 2:23 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012