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Police find 38 llamas dead at farm

Andrew

Investigators in Huntington County made a gruesome discovery Thursday when they found more than 80 dead or dying llamas in rural Andrews.

About 3 p.m., investigators found at least 38 llama carcasses in various stages of decomposition throughout the property inside and outside of pens and in out buildings on the property, Detective Chad Hammel said.

Hammel said there also were 45 starving llamas found throughout the estimated 15-acre property.

“It was just horrific what we saw out there,” Huntington County Sheriff Terry Stoffel said. “It’s the most hideous thing you have ever seen. The ones that did survive were just skin and bones.”

Thomas D. Andrew, 47, owned and lived at the property at 1145 North County Road 975 West, police said. He was arrested on a felony charge of improper disposal of dead animals and a misdemeanor animal neglect charge.

Hammel said it took investigators a couple of days to get an animal veterinarian and other officials together to remove the surviving llamas.

“Their hooves were so long it was obvious that these animals had not been given care,” Hammel said. “There was no hay on the premises, which is a staple to their diet.”

Investigators found rotten grain and about 40 to 50 pounds of usable grain.

“That wouldn’t sustain them for a day,” Hammel said. “But it was in the barn, not in front of them.”

Hammel said a majority of the removed llamas would probably survive and were having their health evaluated. The llamas may then go to an animal sanctuary, Hammel said.

Investigators had to bring in excavators to bury the carcasses on the property.

“When people get into this type of predicament where they’re not able to take care of these animals, they need to be in contact with animal control and animal sanctuaries before it becomes a case for law enforcement,” Hammel said.

Nine cats were removed from Andrew’s home, and the Huntington County Health Department flagged his home for unfit living conditions, Hammel said.

Stoffel said Andrew did not want to cooperate with authorities.

“He just wasn’t going to give them up,” Stoffel said.

Andrew was being held in the Huntington County Jail in lieu of $16,000 bail and is expected to appear in court today.

dadams@jg.net

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