Llamas found dead on sheep farm
ST. IGNATIUS – Two llamas were shot and killed sometime around April 5 at a small sheep farm on Grizzly Hollow Lane at the top of East Post Creek Road.
Things seemed out of place when Kathryn Yelsa came home on Thursday, April 6, around dusk to find a grizzly bear cub in her field. She never sees bears in her field, even though she lives in the middle of prime bear habitat, she said. “The llamas keep the bears away.” But she didn’t think much about it.
When the sun was up the next day, she discovered that her llamas, the ones living in her field for the past 18 years, were dead. Mulatto and Coco had both been shot. They were laying several feet apart at the edge of her property.
Lake County Sheriff’s Deputy Steve Larson was called to the scene. Sheriff Don Bell stated that his deputy reported the llamas had been shot and they received other marks from wild animals. His office is still investigating the case.
Yelsa believes the person who shot her llamas stood near the fence and took aim. She said the fence was also broken in one location. To her, the incident is a threat to her family. She sees no other reason why someone would kill her animals. She is asking anyone who has information about the attack to contact the authorities.
This wasn’t the first time llamas on her property were killed. About five years ago, two of her llamas were shot in the same way. She also found another one dead in the winter of 2016. She once had five llamas. “They are all gone, now,” she said.
Her guess is that someone killed the llamas because they don’t like her and her lifestyle. Yelsa describes herself as an eccentric artist who isn’t quiet about her opinions.
She is also developing a bed and breakfast that has brought people from all over the world to experience “the healing” of her farm. She speculated that a person might want to get rid of her llamas to make it difficult for her to raise her sheep and sustain her lifestyle.
Yelsa lives in a two-story home she built out of clay and straw, grows her own food, and works on her art projects. She also spent time raising her two sons. Before moving to St. Ignatius, she lived in California as an award-winning cartoonist working on titles like the “Animaniacs.”
Yelsa moved to the country with her kids years ago for the fresh air and clean water, although she didn’t escape the crime.
“There is really nowhere you can go to feel safe, forever,” she said.
She isn’t sure what to do about the bears. The llamas were “natural-born tattletales,” and would signal when a bear was around by making noise, she said.
While she’d like to get more llamas, Yelsa is hesitant because she worries they might meet the same fate.
“I hope they don’t get shot,” she said.