Silt llama owner still looking for answers
Aspen, CO Colorado
SILT, Colorado ” The owner of a llama that was attacked by another animal on April 3 is not convinced that the Colorado Division of Wildlife has done everything in its power to find the real culprit.
Steve Schubert’s 5-year-old llama, Santiago, was severely injured in an attack that left the animal with several scratches to its legs, face and neck and missing an ear. Schubert first reported to a DOW officer that he thought Santiago was attacked by a mountain lion, but DOW officers found no evidence to support that claim.
“It’s not that I think I’m right,” Schubert said. “I just want to know what I’m facing here.”
Schubert said DOW officials told him that the animal appeared to have been attacked by either a dog or a pack of dogs, but he said that a veterinarian had told him that it looked like the llama was attacked by a mountain lion.
According to DOW spokesman Randy Hampton, wildlife officers and Wildlife Services also checked out Santiago and the property, and found no evidence to support the suspicion of a lion attack. Hampton said the veterinarian told DOW officers during the surgery on the animal, the same night of the attack, that the injuries were consistent with that of a dog attack.
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The DOW is responsible for paying out veterinary bills, or the market price of an animal if it is used for agriculture purposes as Schubert’s llama is, if the attack is from a wild animal like a lion. Hampton said that the DOW deals with thousands of similar cases each year.
“We have an obligation to ensure when we pay out claims that we have proof,” Hampton said. “We deal with thousands of game damages each year where we pay out claims because of lions and bears, but we have to have some verification. Unfortunately, in this case, there wasn’t any evidence we could find that said it was a lion.”
Hampton said Schubert also contacted Wildlife Services to investigate several wildlife prints in the area, but no lion tracks were positively identified.
“There were some photos e-mailed to the USDA Wildlife Services…they indicated the prints looked like dog tracks,” Hampton said.
Hampton said a Wildlife Services officer also walked the property and found no signs of lions in the area.
However, that didn’t seem to ease Schubert’s concern.
“There aren’t any dogs running around out here,” Schubert said. “The prevailing comments I get are that [the DOW is] sitting on the problem.”