At least 20 llamas missing from California exotic animal farm after burglary

The farm has been a recent target of animal rights activists who claim llamas, emus, ostriches and other animals there have been mistreated and not fed, local media reported.

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By David K. Li

About two dozen llamas were discovered missing from an exotic animal farm in Southern California after a burglary, authorities said Tuesday.

The break-in happened early Monday morning at a 14-acre farm in the Riverside County town of Perris, about 70 miles southeast of downtown Los Angeles, officials said.

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"We received the call about 6:36 a.m., regarding numerous llamas and emus walking on Orange Avenue," Riverside County Sheriff's Deputy Robyn Flores said in a statement to NBC News on Tuesday.

"During the investigation, it was learned that a lock on the fence had been cut, which allowed the animals to leave the property."

The farm's operators, deputies and animal control officers, corralled many of the loose 50 creatures. But it was later found that 20 to 30 llamas had been trucked away, Flores said.

"The investigation into this case is ongoing and there are no suspects in custody at this time," according to Flores.

The Riverside County Department of Animal Services has been regularly visiting the site in recent days to address cleanliness and maintenance issues, a spokesman for the agency said Tuesday.

"We have walked the property and there is plenty of food for the animals. No emaciated animals," county animal services spokesman John Welsh said in a statement.

"This property is somewhat of an eyesore, but we do not have any evidence of anyone willfully neglecting or harming any animals."