Sunday, October 04, 2009

....On the llam-as: reward offered....

By Don Lavery

Sunday October 04 2009

A CIRCUS has offered a cash reward for a missing herd of llamas. Animals-rights activists were being blamed yesterday for the theft of the small herd of llamas from a council pound.

Yesterday, a spokesman for the Australian Sydney Circus said they were offering a cash reward for information leading to the return of the animals or for the animals themselves.

However, he would not say how much was being offered. Anyone with information can contact the circus at the fair green, Ratoath, Co Meath, from October 7-18.

Gardai were yesterday hunting thieves who had stolen the five South American llamas from a pound in Co Meath -- after they earlier caused chaos on the M50 motorway. Their owner claimed that animal-rights activists might be responsible while gardai said so far there had been no sign of the llamas and three goats.

The animals had earlier escaped from the circus compound on Greenhills Road in Tallaght, and swarmed on to the M50 before being corralled by gardai on Thursday.

They were then taken by South Dublin County Council and put in a pound in Summerhill, Co Meath.

The animals' owner Alexander Scholl was told he would have to pay €5,500 to get them back. But hours later it was discovered that they had vanished from the council animal pound. The thieves had gone across eight fields, opened up ditches and travelled two kilometres on foot to the shed where the animals were being kept.

The owner of the pound, Joe Moran, said he discovered the animals were missing at about 8am on Friday and he alerted gardai.

"I was very surprised to see them gone," he said. "Whoever took them walked them a considerable distance until they got them to the roadway. They obviously had some kind of transport. "I can't understand why anybody would want to steal them," he said.

Circus owner Alexander Scholl denied that he had recaptured the animals himself and said he suspected animal-rights activists.

Tamed llamas fetch between €2,500 and €3,000 each, but he says they are useless to anybody except a circus.

Mr Scholl had offered the council €1,000 to get the llamas back before they went missing -- again.

- Don Lavery

Sunday Independent