A $870 reward is being offered to anyone with any knowledge of who and why someone would shoot and kill two farm animals in Hoschton over the weekend — one that was worth at least $30,000.
The deaths include $30,000 female Huacaya alpaca named Sandi Lynn and a $5,000 male llama named Patches from a Hoschton farm off Dee Kennedy Road on early Saturday morning, June 28, sometime after 1:30 a.m. ‘“We are devastated,” Angie Gilliland, said. “These were like our children.” Gilliland and her husband, Jim, run the farm that is located in Barrow County, but “is right on the Jackson County line.”
The victims think a group of people — possibly young people who were under the influence of drugs or alcohol and who were familiar with the set up of the farm — snuck onto the property, cornered the llama and then shot him twice and cut his ear. The female alpaca was then shot in the lung. The owners said nothing was stolen and no gates were left open. “They knew the property,” said Gilliland. “They just came with the purpose of hurting the animals.”
LeAnne Foxworth, a volunteer who helps the Gillilands on the weekends to feed and water the animals, was the one who found the bodies of Patches and Sandi Lynn on Saturday morning at about 10 a.m.
The Gillilands, who live on the property, did not hear anything the night before. Nor did the neighbors, said Gilliland.
“They would have all been screaming because they alert when they’re in danger,” said Gilliland. “They would have been running and screaming and spitting.”
The farm is generally open to the public – and is home to more than 20 alpacas. Some of the animals belong to the Gillilands and some belong to another person and just live on Gilliland’s farm. At one time there was a pair of llamas, which were used for the alpacas protection, and before Patches’ death over the weekend, he was used to protect the alpacas.
Gilliland said she and her husband have considered closing the farm to the public.
“This cannot happen again,” she said. “We cannot afford for this to happen again. It’s too heartbreaking. It is a senseless crime. We do tours for kids here.”
The culprits are facing felony charges of criminal trespassing, cruelty to animals and destruction of property, said Gilliland.
A fund account at Wells Fargo Bank in Hamilton Mill is being set up to send for the award for anyone who is prosecuted. It has been Gilliland Heritage Alpacas Donation Accounts (No. 1627414640).
The Gillilands on Saturday night went to Facebook with a plea for any information on the case:
“It's with great sadness watching this video you see our wonderful Llama named Patches just getting some fresh hay. My heart is breaking because some very evil people murdered him and a female alpaca of mine named Sandi Lynn. Patches was a very gentle male and has never even spit at anyone much less hurt someone. They and there were three or more people to trap this big 500lb. male and shoot him at point blank range twice with a small caliber gun and then cut his ear very badly. Then they chased all the alpacas turned over a large fan onto the ground and preceded to shoot Sandi Lynn in her left lung! If anyone hears someone bragging or posting footage of this horrific slaughter of our family please call the number above you can stay anonymous and hopefully our alpaca farmer friends will help us increase this Reward!!! This senseless killing of our furry family has got to stop now!!! Please help us put these killers in prison! Parents talk to your kids that stayed out late Friday night or stay over at a friends house. They did not steal anything they we there just to torture and kill my family! Thanks in advance for any help in solving this crime!!!"
Barrow County authorities on Monday said they have no leads on the case right now, but anyone with information can contact Investigator Jason Wilkerson at 770-307-3080 Ext. 1108.