Friday, June 7, 2013


There was this llama living in Florida, near Tallahassee, and his name was Scooter.  Last Friday Scooter decided he would like to see the world outside his pasture, so he broke the fence, and he went exploring.  On Friday night, Scooter's owner, Jack Conrad, saw that Scooter was gone, so he started looking everywhere for his llama.

But he couldn't find Scooter, so early Saturday morning, Mr. Conrad called the sheriff's office and they started helping him look.  Meanwhile, other people were calling to that they had seen a camel or an alpaca or some other strange animal wandering around.

The deputies gave Scooter a good chase, but Scooter did not want to be caught, so he ran fast, and he even jumped a 4-foot fence to get away.  Lt. Tony Drzewiecki said, "Scooter was running in the middle of the road, so he was going to cause an accident eventually."

Photo handout via AP

Finally, the deputies and police and everybody caught up with Scooter.  They got a lasso on him, but he did not want to go into the trailer that was there to take him home.  He used his 300-pound weight to resist his captors, and also he spat on at least one of them.  So the deputies had to use a taser on Scooter to subdue him.  After that, 6 men were able to pull and shove the llama into the trailer.  "I've been doing this for twenty years and this was the first llama I've ever had to chase," said Officer Drzewiecki.

Now Scooter is back at home with his owner, Mr. Conrad, who also has 3 other llamas.  Scooter likes to eat Triscuits, so he has been munching on those and acting like nothing happened.  Mr. Conrad will not have to pay a fine, but he has promised to make his fence stronger so that Scooter cannot get out again. This is good because now Scooter will stay at home where he is safe, but it also means he won't get to go exploring anymore.

Scooter back at home.  Tallahassee Democrat

One thing that the article about capturing Scooter said was that he had to be shot with a laser gun because "llamas don't respond to voice commands."  I thought this was kind of a strange thing to say because people in the Andes have been using llamas for years as pack animals, and you would think the llamas have learned at least a few commands.

On the same page with the Scooter article, I found a link to a story about keeping llamas as pets, and this story talked about a UK couple, Tim and Terri Crowfoot, who have seven llamas.  These llamas are named David, Dillon, Thomas, Oscar, Toby, Mary, and Ann.  They have learned lots of the same tricks that dogs do.  For example, they can fetch, sit, roll over, shake, pull carts, and jump through hoops.  The Crowfoots said, "The llamas can now do everything your average dog can do, and more."  Well, I refuse to believe that llamas are smarter than dogs, but in order to learn all those tricks, they would have to respond to voice commands.

A llama being trained.

The problem with Scooter was just that he had never been taught any voice commands, and not that llamas in general don't respond to them.  In my opinion, Scooter needs to go to some obedience classes, and the first thing he needs to learn is "Come!"

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