CURRY, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) Steven Westphal is no novice when it comes to raising llamas.
Steven Westphal looks after his remaining eight llamas. The herd is down two after multiple shootings over the last few weeks.
He and his wife bought some 20 years ago to use as pack animals and give their kids a hobby.
When he noticed one of his pack dead a few weeks ago, he assumed it was natural.
“Nothing caused me to think of anything bad happening to it,” Westphal said.
Until the same happened a few weeks later, and he was forced to investigate.
Her back legs were all bloody, he said. I pulled her fur back, and I found a bullet hole in her side.
“That's what's called a gut shot. It's a horrible way for an animal to die.”
The same happened in the pasture next door, taking out a heifer and prize bull worth near $5,000.
“Obviously that's a great amount of money invested in livestock that is now a huge loss for the future,” said Lt. Daron Brown with the Twin Falls County Sheriff Office.
Westphal thinks the shooter aimed from the railroad tracks that run behind both pastures in question.
Though he's sure of that, what he can't figure out is why someone would do this.
“These are gentle, docile animals,” he said, “and there's no reason just to blatantly kill something just for the fun of it.”
The sheriff’s office is interviewing persons of interest.
If they find the person responsible, they could face up to four charges of felony grand theft – one for each animal – racking up $5,000 in fines and up to 14 years in prison.
The prosecutor will use their discretion for whether the individual would be charged for each animal.