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Alpaca on stretcher after Florida crash
First responders carried an alpaca to safety on a stretcher Monday after her driver lost control of his vehicle in the middle of a thunderstorm in Southwestern Florida.
The man’s pickup truck – pulling a trailer with four alpacas – hydroplaned into a guard rail on a bridge in Charlotte County, Fla., ABC News affiliate WZVN-TV reported.
“We found the four alpacas smushed together in their trailer,” Reannon Juergensen, a Charlotte County Animal Control officer who responded to the accident on Interstate 75, told ABC News. “Three were on top of a fourth alpaca.”
The three uninjured alpacas were safely moved to an animal-control trailer. “One by one, we put lead ropes on them and walked them to the animal-control trailer and took them to the veterinarian,” Juergensen said.
The fourth shorn alpaca wouldn’t move by herself.
“She didn’t want to use her back end and we were concerned she had injured her back, hind legs or pelvis since the others had fallen on her,” Juergensen said. “We weren’t 100 percent sure of her injuries.”
First responders found the quickest and safest solution.
“Paramedics strapped the alpaca to a human backboard, secured the animal and carried it to the animal control trailer with the others,” Charlotte County Fire and EMS spokeswoman Dee Hawkins-Garland said.
She has worked with the department for 24 years and said she has never seen alpacas involved in an accident. “It’s just another example of how our agencies down here work together for all our citizens, even our furry ones,” she said.
The alpacas were taken to a local veterinary office and found to have no injuries, apart from the fourth one’s swollen lip.
“The bad weather was working against our officers, so it’s a good thing that the alpacas were confined,” Division Manager Bryan Jones of Charlotte County Animal Control said.
The driver was uninjured. Police have not released his name and it’s unclear where he was taking the alpacas, animals whose hair is used to make fiber for woven items like blankets sweaters.