A 22 year old Butler County mother and two teen boys are facing charges after they allegedly beat an alpaca to death.
Sheriff deputies say Stacie Mullins and the two 17 year old boys attacked the animal at a Madison Township farm, about a half hour to the northwest of Cincinnati, on February 5th.
The alpaca, which was only three months old and was named "Masterpiece" by his owner, Rebecca Hardin, was hit over the head by some kind of blunt object. Prosecutors say when the teen boys realized the animal had not died, they dragged it from the fenced-in area where it was grazing, put it in a vehicle, and drove to an abandoned barn where they beat it some more, until it died.
Mullins is charged with complicity for allegedly driving the teens to the farm. She will appear in Middletown Municipal Court on March 3rd. Mullins told Local 12 WKRC-TV that the teens are friends of her brother, and that she has received death threats since being named as a suspect.
The teens face more serious charges of breaking and entering, cruelty to animals, and tampering with evidence. But the most serious of those charges carries only a maximum sentence of 90 days in jail. Alpacas are considering livestock, and more serious felony charges for animal cruelty are reserved for cases involving house pets.
Alpacas are cousins to camels and llamas. They are native to the high Andes Mountain countries of Peru, Chile, and Bolivia but are often raised on farms here in the United States and are valued for their fleece, which hypo-allergenic. They are considered to be gentle and easy to train.