Mike Heine/The Week
(Published Oct. 31, 2007, 1:12 p.m.)
Was it a prank? A Satanic ritual? A dare? Or just someone with a sick mind?
Tana Ward doesn't know and doesn't care. She just wants to find out who beheaded a 5-day-old alpaca in her pasture Oct. 10.
"The whole aspect of it was really sickening," Ward said.
When Ward came home from work to her WillowTan Farm, N5114 County P, north of Delavan, she noticed one of the alpacas, a baby named Arianne, was missing.
She found the body in the pasture, but the head was gone.
At first, she thought it was killed by a coyote, but there were no bite or scratch marks on the body.
Police determined the head was severed cleanly and that someone had climbed through the fence, Ward said.
"I don't feel it was a personal attack," Ward said. "We don't have any trouble with our neighbors. Everyone has been very nice to us since we moved here. I think it was very isolated."
Alpacas have value for breeding and for their fur. The head of a 5-day-old baby, or cria, is of little use to anyone, Ward said.
Ward figures the perpetrators went after the little one because they could catch it. The baby weighed about 17 pounds.
Adult alpacas typically avoid people and run away if they aren't familiar with them.
Police have few leads and are investigating the beheading as an animal cruelty case, Walworth County Undersheriff Kurt Picknell said.
Investigators have no suspects, no witnesses and no motive. No other animal beheadings have been reported in the area, Picknell said.
It looks like a tasteless prank, he said.
Ward asked anyone with knowledge of the beheading to call the sheriff's department.
Anyone with information about the Oct. 10 beheading of a baby alpaca in rural Delavan can call Walworth County CrimeStoppers at (262) 723-2677. Callers can remain anonymous and may be eligible for a reward.
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