Alpacas are native to South America (Bolivia, Chile, Peru). They are raised and sold Connecticut at several farms.
Alpacas are sheared every year. There are more than 16 colors to Alpaca hair, which are naturally flame resistant and hypoallergenic.
The fibers are turned into yarn and made into socks, sweaters, etc.
Alpacas grow to about 36" at the shoulder, can weigh up to 180 pounds, and can live 15-20 years.
They rarely spit at people.
Some Connecticut Alpaca Farms:
Safe Haven Alpaca Farm & Store, Hampton.
Burgis Brook Alpacas, Canterbury.
Southwind Farms, Watertown.
Saltaire Alpacas, Clinton
Hunter Hill Alpacas, Bristol
Summer Brook Valley Farm, Middletown
Six Paca Farm, Bozrah.
Updated: Thursday, 19 Apr 2012, 9:14 AM EDT
Published : Wednesday, 18 Apr 2012, 4:22 PM EDT
ESSEX, Conn. (WTNH) -- Two Westbrook men accused in the stabbing deaths of four alpacas faced a judge in court Tuesday. The killings happened on an Essex farm just two days before Christmas .
Shawn Malcarne, 23, said he had nothing to say to news crews outside Middletown Superior Court. He is charged with conspiracy to commit animal cruelty and burglary, while his co-defendant 21-year-old Kyle Rossetti is charged with burglary and the more serious animal cruelty charge.
"Obviously the animals can't talk, they can't stick up for themselves, so it's a very cowardly and hateful crime to do," said Colleen Seymour, Incarnation Center, "and so it's very concerning."
Seymour is the director of the farm at the Incarnation Center, next door to Applesauce Acres, where the alpacas were killed. She was concerned for the safety of her own animals after the four alpacas were killed and left in a pen off Bushy Hill Road.
"It was disturbing because so many people drove here with their little child to see the alpacas," said Peter Larom, Incarnation Center.
In court, the state said Rossetti, who is on probation for criminal mischief and breach of peace convictions and who has an outstanding warrant for simple assault out of South Carolina, appears to have killed the alpacas purely for sport. He was ordered held on $75,000 bond.
Malcarne, who was released on a promise to appear, does not have a record and is just weeks away from graduation. Now both Westbrook men are at the center of this investigation, which may yield more arrests.
"The unfortunate thing is these animals are so vulnerable. I mean they're so... alpacas especially are so gentle and they don't run away. So we're glad that this is the end of that," said Larom. "Parents will come with their children back to our farm, to George's farm."
In January, the owner of the farm had raised his reward from $2,500 to $13,000 in hopes the killer or killers would be caught.