GREEN, Ohio - The Pratt Family of Green saw what they’ve built over the last seven years disappear in a matter of just a few minutes.
Monday morning, their entire herd of nine alpaca was wiped out in an attack by two dogs that got loose from a home nearly three miles away.
"It hasn't really sunk in yet, I think it’s going to take us awhile to process it,” said Diana Pratt who started Little Mountain Alpacas with her husband Michael in 2007.
"We thought that maybe this is something we can do as a family with all the kids you know helping to take care of them," said Diana.
They bought a male and a pregnant female to start and watched as their herd eventually grew to nine.
The Pratts have nine children with morning feeding responsibilities shared among those still at home but on Memorial Day Diana said she decided to let the kids sleep in. But as she made her way out to the barn where the alpacas are secured each night she was confronted by two big dogs she said looked like mastiffs.
"The look on their face and the look in their eye made me actually grab a lawn chair and you know like put it in front of me because I thought they might attack me."
She went back into the house and warned her kids to stay inside and not to let their dog out.
A few minutes later she saw the dogs come back but go behind the barn where the alpacas were housed. Since the barn was secured she didn’t give it a second thought.
“I thought that they were going to cut through the yards and go to the street beyond,” she said.
She walked into the barn and turned on a light at the top of the stairs though and she heard the dogs bark, they were in the barn. “I couldn’t believe it because the barn door is shut,” she recalled.
It was then that she saw at least two of the alpacas were dead and others seriously injured.
She latched the door shut and ran back to the house to call 9-1-1. Within moments two Summit County Sheriff’s deputies arrived on scene.
"When they initially got there, the dogs ran past one of the deputies towards another deputy and he was able to get them into his cruiser," said Summit County Sheriff’s Inspector Bill Holland.
As deputies made their way to the barn along with Pratt they quickly saw that all nine alpacas had been attacked--along with a pet rabbit--and were either dead or so severely injured they needed to be put down.
The dogs were taken away and eventually euthanized.
"I’m a dog lover but if dogs could do that kind of thing, I think the only really responsible thing to do is to have the dogs put down,” Pratt said.
Holland said the owner of the dogs has been charged with control of dogs which is a fourth degree misdemeanor.
“She's also been charged in the past for this same offense and our deputies have been dispatched because of these two dogs approximately six times over the past few years," he said.
Pratt said it’s an adjustment going from caring for the animals for so long to nothing. “It’s weird not to have to attend to the animals because you have to sort of order your life around it.”