PATRIOT — A young girl received a surprise in the form of a six-month-old alpaca Easter afternoon as a gift from a partnership comprised of local animal advocates and law enforcement after hers was shot in a crime the previous week.
“We were blown away by the generosity and thoughtfulness of everyone,” said Becky Blazer. “It not only made Josie’s day, the other alpaca took to him (the young alpaca) right away… It helped heal some broken hearts for all of us but we’ll always remember the one we lost… The kids said this was one of their best Easters.”
According to Gallia Sheriff’s Office reports, deputies responded to a call of an animal being shot the early morning of April 7. Reportedly, a pickup had stopped along Gauge Road near Patriot where an individual next shot one of two alpacas belonging to the Blazer family, specifically the Blazers’ daughter, Josie, 5. The animal was reportedly found by the property owners right outside its stall.
Deputies followed the case to three juvenile males who allegedly shot the Blazer alpaca with a .223 rifle round. The case has been sent to the Gallia Prosecutor’s Office for review.
The Blazer alpacas had been given as a gift to Josie in June 2019 after she had finished a round of chemo treatments.
The new alpaca, named Chewpacca before being gifted to Josie and her mother Becky, her father James and brother Cooper, 7, was given to the family compliments of efforts by Angie Dahse and the team of Four Seasons Veterinary Clinic, Grundy Hills Farm and delivered with the help of the Gallia Sheriff’s Office. Deputies and Gallia Sheriff Matt Champlin picked up the animal from the clinic before riding towards the Blazer residence, lights flashing, as the family waited outside to the surprise of the children after they had finished their earlier Easter celebrations.
The alpaca was introduced to Josie’s hugs, straight out of the back of the cab of a sheriff’s office pickup truck. The animal had traveled quietly, nestled along the truck’s floorboards with a bow looped through its bridle.
“It’s very unfortunate that a senseless act of violence such as this occurred and it hurt the heart of our deputies who worked on and investigated this case,” said Champlin. “However, we’re very thankful for the community support that we received that made it possible to find another animal for this little girl and provide it on Easter Sunday and brighten her day in light of the tragedy that occurred.”
Becky also thanked Patriotic Builders for their assistance in burying the deceased alpaca.
Dean Wright is a staff writer with Ohio Valley Publishing and can be reached at 740-446-2342.
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