California

Dogs dug under gate to kill ‘beloved’ alpacas at California educational farm, volunteers say

Two dogs slipped into an educational farm in Vallejo, California, last week and killed three alpacas, volunteers said — and the dogs may be responsible for other deaths, too.

“This is just terrible,” volunteer Arlene Hoffmann said, adding that the husky mixes got in by burrowing under a gate, according to the Vallejo Times Herald.

The dogs killed the alpacas at Loma Vista Farm Friday night and mauled a handful of other farm animals, “resulting in severe injury,” according to a GoFundMe raising money to support the five-acre non-profit “outdoor classroom.” The huskies attacked the animals after escaping a nearby home, KGO reports.

Hoffmann said the animals had been to the farm before, suggesting they may be to blame for the recent disappearances of a peacock and some hens, the Times Herald reports. Both dogs were located on the property after the attack, according to the newspaper.

Organizers of the fundraiser said the proceeds would cover veterinarian bills for animals that were hurt, as well as the cost of replacing the animals that were killed and improving the fence and security system. It aims to bring in $20,000. More than $4,000 had been raised as of Tuesday afternoon.

“While it will take a long time for pain to subside, we can help ... the farm recover and make it a more secure place for the animals,” the fundraiser said.

Hoffmann said goats and sheep were also injured, the Times Herald reported. An update posted to the farm’s website after the attack described the dogs’ attack on the alpacas as “vicious.”

“This is where they lived, this was their home,” said Rita Leroy, who has managed Loma Vista for decades, according to KGO. “We’re just devastated. The alpacas were gentle, loving creatures that the children loved dearly. We’re going to be very sad for a long time.”

The alpacas were named Pacheco, Racer and Skyfall, KGO reports.

Solano County animal control officers said the dogs’ owners gave them up following the attack, but authorities are still determining if the owners will face charges and if the dogs will be euthanized, KRON reports.

Authorities will decide whether or not to put the pets down this week, KGO reports. The dogs are named Demi and Buddy.

Leroy told KRON that the animal’s deaths will have a serious impact on the children who interacted with them routinely. The farm is located near Loma Vista Environmental Science Academy.

“They’re going to be very sad. Whenever we have a loss of an animal, it effects them very deeply — they just focus on it, and it shakes them to their little cores,” Leroy said, KRON reports. “It’s heartbreaking knowing that all these children are going to be impacted by this loss.”

Counselors were at the school to help students after the animals’ deaths, KRON reports.

“A lot of our students were actually pretty resilient — they knew, they understood,” said Cecilia Cruz, a school psychologist, according to KGO.

The farm said it will be closed until Feb. 20, KTVU reports.

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Jared Gilmour is a McClatchy national reporter based in San Francisco. He covers everything from health and science to politics and crime. He studied journalism at Northwestern University and grew up in North Dakota.
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