1. ITV Report

Rescue llama is found "shot dead" at animal sanctuary

Credit: NCJ Media Syndication

The owner of an animal sanctuary has spoken of his horror after a beloved llama was shot dead. Larry the llama has been a popular feature at Hilltop Farm Animal Sanctuary in Morpeth, Northumberland, since he was rescued from a zoo in 2016.

He was a much loved animal at the farm, which is also home to alpacas, horses and sheep, and a favourite among schoolchildren who visit from all over the country.

Robin Hills, 41, who owns the farm, was devastated when Larry was found dead in a field with a bullet wound to his neck.

My cousin was out horse riding and found him lying there. I went to investigate.

He had a great big hole in his neck, I saw it straight away when I turned him over. He'd been shot.

He also had bruises on his leg, which could have been from a dog attack. We couldn't get the tractor up there so I had to manually drag him down with ropes until I could get to the car.

It was just horrible. It's really sad because the kids used to come and see him. He was great with the kids, especially ones with learning difficulties."

– Robin Hills, farm owner

People have taken to social media to express their outrage at the attack.

Absolutely disgusting. I'm so sorry for hill top farm. They do amazing work and don’t deserve this. My heart goes out to them and all their lovely animals."

– Jade Grace Wilkinson, on socia media

Horrendous, harming and killing animals that live in a sanctuary - it should be a safe haven. I love living in Northumberland but I hate the animal cruelty."

– Lesley Middleton, social media
Credit: NCJ Media Syndication

It's going to be difficult to try and to explain what has happened to the children. They loved him. They're going to ask where he is and he's not here anymore.

This is animal cruelty on my own farm. We're being targeted by poachers.

We've had them before, they killed our sheep, even the pregnant ones, and baby lambs. It's not like losing a jumper, you can't just buy another one. It's all the time we put into Larry to rehabilitate him after we rescued him for a zoo who found him too much of a handful.

He was quite wild when we first got him. We took him on and he got used to us. My mam used to feed him from her hands.

It's appalling. We've got sick people like that targeting innocent animals."

– Robin Hills, farm owner

Northumbria Police have confirmed they are investigating the shooting, which is understood to have happened on Wednesday or Thursday last week.

His body was found last week week.