A VICIOUS attack has left three alpacas dead and four wounded after two dogs broke into a family farm near Brinkworth and mauled the defenceless animals.
Dave Taylor, 62, owner of Farmtastic in Grittenham, has been left devastated on the third occasion dogs have got into his pens and set upon his livestock.
Coming across the malamutes in mid-attack early on Sunday morning, Dave asked a friend to grab his gun and the two dogs were shot dead.
Two of the £7,500 alpacas were dead by the time Dave could rush to save them, with another so seriously injured she had to be put down. Four others have since returned, shell-shocked, from the vets.
Dave and partner Lizzie, who run the farm, became suspicious when they saw one of the Alpacas out of her pen.
“In the morning at around 9am I got up to do the feeding as normal and headed across the barn,” said Dave. “My missus saw something down the drive and it turned out to be one of the alpacas. We thought that was odd because she had been fenced up that night.
“I went down to fetch her and heard a shout. The alpaca was going nuts. We had to push her up the drive and we couldn’t understand why she was playing up. We managed to get her back to the pen and that’s when we saw the others.
“We thought they were just lying in the sun, but two were dead. The dogs were chewing on the back end of one, so my friend had to go and get his gun and shot two of them.”
Dave had to clamber into the pen with the dogs in an attempt to save his alpacas.
“The dogs are malamutes, which are basically a wolf crossed with a husky,” he said. “We had to get into the pen with them which frightened me to death. We had to shoot them. Those dogs can jump over a six foot fence, and when they are stood up on their hind legs they are as tall as me.
“One of the girls killed cost £7,500, and we will not be able to breed from the others again.
“The ones who survived have come back from the vets, and they are still shocked and very quiet. One was ripped from the underneath so we don’t know if she will be able to breed again. Another had their head bitten and had to be stitched. The one we saw first must have broken right through the fence to get away.”
This is the third occasion Dave has had dogs break into his farm in the four years they have been open, and has court conditions imposed on a neighbour to control their dogs.
“The last time this happened was May 8 last year,” said Dave. “One of the alpacas was killed and three more injured. They were all pregnant at the time, and so they lost their babies. Some had to be aborted. Two of the ones attacked yesterday were the same ones attacked last year.
“We were just about to start mating them next month to have babies next year. The other two are so distressed they can’t get pregnant now.
“Our vets were just overwhelmed at the whole thing. Even one of the police burst into tears when they saw what had happened. I can’t believe the devastation.”
A spokesman for Wiltshire Police said: “We were called to an address in Grittenham shortly after 9.20am on Sunday to reports of two dogs attacking a number of alpacas.
“Both of the dogs had been destroyed by a licensed firearms holder before officers arrived.
“This incident has been tasked to the local neighbourhood police team to investigate.”