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February 5, 2007  Retire, Donate, or Euthanasia?


Alpaca Training

We were given a non-breeding female a few years ago.  It was apparent that this female was over handled as a cria.  We have had to be very careful around her, and remove her from the area where we are working with our other animals.  If we handle (even touch) another animal in her presence she first attacks the animal and then comes after us.  A few weeks ago, I was in the pasture where she was taking photos of other animals.  Even that upset her.  I would like to find her a new home, but feel that I can't even give her to someone else in fear she will hurt them.  Is there a "retirement" home for animals like these?  This female is almost ten years old.

Alpaca Training

Dealing with an animal with behavioral problems is a tough call there are no perfect answers.  Have you consulted with a trainer to make sure that you cannot change your behavior or perhaps manage her more easily and keep her?  I know that many people who come to my clinics have animals that intimidate them and find out  that once they change their behavior the animals respond in kind. 

You might consider attending a training with me or one of my practitioners.  Typical handling methods that rely on cornering and holding as a way of catching can be the cause of aggression, and learning new ways to handle this female may help with her; and will make your life easier, along with all of your other alpacas as well.

As far as a new home... I am not personally familiar with any retirement homes for alpacas and would not be comfortable making a recommendation other than in general terms.  I suppose sanctuary is really a better word given her behavior.  As a matter of ethics...if I were looking for a sanctuary I would want a place that guarantees good care and does not re-home aggressive animals.  A thorough search of the internet may be your best bet.  Once you find a place I would do some additional research to make sure that you are sending your animal to a place that has the operating capital to stay in business. 

Because your animal is a female there is an additional risk that someone may try to pass her off as a breed-able female and sell her after you have given her away.  Often aggressive animals do not display the problematic behavior for the first week when in a new environment; making it easy for an unscrupulous person to pass these animals off to “newbies”. 

Donating an alpaca to a research facility is sometimes an option, although many would suggest that putting an animal down is the kinder route to follow.  Giving an alpaca away that has behavioral issues, particularly aggression, is dicey for many different reason regardless of how well informed the new owner may be.

There are those people who would never put an animal down for any reason.  I am not among those and feel that sometimes euthanasia is the best and kindest solution.

Good luck,




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