Applegate Valley, Ore.– In the beginning of December, Mishell Minnick received a call about one of her alpacas. According to the owner of the farm she was renting from, a dog had bitten a sizable chunk out of her favorite alpaca, Luna.
Luna, who is one and a half years old but was born blind and had other health issues, was quickly flown to facilities at Oregon State University where professionals could treat her. After successfully healing Luna to the point that she could return to her herd, Minnick received more horrible news. The same dog that had attacked Luna had come back and attacked four more of her alpacas last Saturday.
“She’s got a big hole in her and hopefully no infections happen, especially with this other one that was hurt pretty badly. He’s also a weak animal.”
Minnick says that two of her alpacas were not seriously injured but one had some extensive damage that required the alpaca be castrated.
The farm out in Williams where she was temporarily keeping her herd until she could find a more suitable spot has been dealing with aggressive dogs for quite sometime. Neighbors have constantly complained about dogs coming from a certain neighbor who lets them run wild and terrorize farm animals.
Minnick did finally meet with a man who came forward saying the dogs belonged to him and that he would repay her for the damages caused to her animals.
While Minnick has finally moved her herd to a safer location in the Applegate Valley, the cost for caring for their injuries has been hefty.
“I have to inject them twice a day. Three of the boys I had to give them medication twice a day, injectable, which is not easy with like a 100 to 200 pound animal,” said Minnick.
The total price she believes for all medical expenses so far runs around $6,000.
While Minnick does make some money from shearing her alpacas and selling their manure as fertilizer, she still works a full-time job to maintain an upkeep for her 14 alpacas. She realizes that some might see it as a little ridiculous that she has so many alapacs for little to no profit, but she doesn’t see it like that. To her, alpaca’s are her passion project.
Minnick first realized her love for the animal when she started volunteering for Sanctuary One in 2011. The organization, she says, was kind enough to let her work with animals she felt connected
“Alpacas and llamas, they’re interesting. They’re kinda like giant cats to me.”
Mishell says that someday she would like to open a business that would let her work with her alpacas full-time and care for others that might be like Luna.
“I’m hoping that someday it will be a profitable experience. Maybe it will just be people who want to come and visit the farm. I don’t know, maybe I’ll make a bed and breakfast with alpacas.”
If you would like to follow Luna and the other alpacas at Mishell’s farm, you can follow them on Facebook or Instagram @alpacadise.