(HOUSTON) — Two teens are in police custody after authorities say they confessed to the March 5 shooting of a llama, and the beheading of another.
The pair of 16-year-old boys were charged Thursday with one count each of animal cruelty and two counts each of misdemeanor criminal mischief, police said.
“Just when you think you’ve heard it all, along comes a bizarre case that makes you wonder what goes through people’s minds, especially young people,” Constable Alan Rosen told ABC’s Houston station KTRK-TV.
The juveniles allegedly carried out the attack against the llamas, named Lorenzo and La Tida, on a ranch in Cypress, Texas, called Figment Ranch.
Lorenzo, a guard llama, was shot twice, but survived, ranch co-owner Ruby Herron told ABC News.
“He was trying to protect [La Tida],” Herron said. “He was the best guard in the world.”
A bullet is still lodged next to his spine, as doctors advise trying to remove it could be deadly, Herron said.
“Now, he is so frightened every time someone comes up,” Herron said. “His whole personality has changed.”
La Tida was a show-quality AQHA halter champion llama, Herron said, noting that she was devastated when she discovered the llama was gruesomely decapitated. It was something she said she had never seen before in her more than 30 years raising llamas on the ranch.
“It’s a feeling that you never want to have,” she said. “These kids need help. I don’t know what would even possess them.”
No one was at the ranch when the boys allegedly entered the property, Herron said, noting that she and her co-owner grew increasingly fearful during the two months that the suspects remained at large.
“We’ve been scared to death to leave,” co-owner Robin H. Turell told ABC News, “and every day you wake up, you count the animals.”
These llamas can sell for up to $20,000, Turell said. In addition to that loss, they said they spent about $10,000 to install additional surveillance cameras on the ranch.
They said they want to prevent future such incidents, and are looking into possibly creating a “Lorenzo Alert,” much like the Amber Alert child abduction alert system.
Police have not made public the names of the suspects because they are minors. The motive for the incident remains unclear as the investigation continues, police said.
Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
Recent posts in National News