Llama attacks man, chases NC deputy's car - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina |

Llama attacks man, chases NC deputy's car before being trapped in pasture

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The Llama that went berserk. (Source: Lem Lynch Photography) The Llama that went berserk. (Source: Lem Lynch Photography)
The llama near a police car. (Source: Lem Lynch Photography) The llama near a police car. (Source: Lem Lynch Photography)
The llama chases a police car. (Source: Lem Lynch Photography) The llama chases a police car. (Source: Lem Lynch Photography)

By Jeff Rivenbark - email

CLEVELAND COUNTY, NC (WBTV) - The West Coast has high-speed chases down freeways, but in western North Carolina, llamas are the chase du jour.

A llama named "Henry" broke out of its pen and threatened two people including a sheriff's detective before the wayward animal was trapped inside a pasture in Cleveland County Wednesday morning. 

The incident happened along the 200 block of Range Road which is located south of Highway 74 between Shelby and Kings Mountain.

Ronald Griffin drove up to his friend's house to visit.  As he was getting out of his Oldsmobile, he was greeted by a pet llama which belongs to another neighbor, Jack Lail.  The animal had escaped from its pen and came after Griffin.    

"It knocked me down in the wood pile and tried to stomp on me," Griffin said.

While we don't know the exact dimensions of the animal, a full-size llama grows up to 6 feet tall at the top of the head and they can weigh up to 450 pounds.

Griffin was injured and managed to get back into his car.  He backed out of his neighbor's driveway, drove across the road and into his own driveway.

The llama didn't give up.  Instead, he followed Griffin across the road and kept attacking his car.  Griffin then called Cleveland County 911.

911 Operator:  Cleveland County 911.
Griffin:  Yeah… (inaudible)… in my yard… tried to attack me…  It's got me hemmed up in my car out here.
911 operator:  What's got you hemmed up?
Griffin:  A llama.
911 operator:  A llama?
Griffin:  Yeah on Range Road.  Oh God!!!  Its jumping on my car now.
(The 911 operator goes on to the get the exact location of the caller who said he was near Baptist Church.)
911 operator:  What kind of vehicle are you in?
Griffin:  I'm in a gray Oldsmobile.
911 operator:  Gray Oldsmobile?
Griffin:  He jumped me over and knocked me into… (inaudible)
911 Operator:  Have you wrecked your vehicle… or does he have you stopped?
Griffin:  I'm in my yard. 
911 operator:  Ok.  I've got some help on the way.
Griffin:  Get out of here!
911 operator:  Do you know who it belongs to?
(Phone goes dead.) 

Meanwhile, the llama continued using its muzzle to hit the windows of the Oldsmobile.

A few minutes later, Cleveland County Sheriff Detective Micah Sturgis arrived and the llama then focused its attention on his unmarked patrol car. 

Sturgis immediately called dispatchers and reported:  "County, I got a llama chasing me down Range Road."

The llama continued to attack the patrol car, but Sturgis refused to exit his vehicle.

"I don't know what I'm gonna do," Sturgis told the dispatcher.  "Its chasing me all the way up Range Road.  If you stand still, it tries to butt the car."

About two minutes later, an animal control officer arrived on the scene.

The detective and the animal control devised a plan for Sturgis to drive into the pasture luring the animal back home.  While the llama was following the patrol car, the animal control officer closed a gate trapping the llama inside its pasture. 

Investigators say this is not the first time they have been called to the neighborhood because of Henry.  Officials say Lail will be fined $100 if the llama escapes again.

Griffin was treated at an area hospital for minor injuries and he has only one regret.

"If I had my gun on me at the time, he [llama] wouldn't have gotten nowhere," Griffin said.  "I usually carry it."

The detective said he doesn't want anyone to get the wrong impression about the llama.

"I think he got a little scared and just needed a little direction to get back home," Sturgis said. "Henry is a good pet."

Copyright 2011 WBTV. All rights reserved.

(Editor's note: Photographer Lem Lynch contributed information for this story.)

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