Alpaca suffers '˜brutal attack' on Haywards Heath farm

A Haywards Heath woman is urging dog owners to make sure their pets are properly controlled after one of her alpacas suffered a '˜brutal attack'.

Wednesday, 8th August 2018, 2:00 pm
Updated Friday, 31st August 2018, 5:24 pm
Peta Tayler with her son Chris Tayler and eight-year-old granddaughter Claudia Tayler. Picture: Liz Pearce

Peta Tayler, 70, of South Colwell Farm in Colwell Road, Haywards Heath, was left devastated when her alpaca Chico was found covered in blood on the farm.

She told the Middy this week: “Not long before 11am on July 12, Chico suffered a brutal attack. I was at home at the time and the windows were open as it was very hot. I was getting things ready for my son’s 40th birthday at the weekend.

“Neither I, nor my gardener Clive, heard any unusual barking or the sound of an owner calling or shouting. He found Chico covered in blood and alerted me.

The alpaca after the attack

“Our vet in Uckfield came within 15 minutes. He almost immediately said that this was certainly a large dog, possibly allowed to roam in the woods that adjoin the field, or possibly a stray.

“At that point I thought he was going to be fine and was just going to have some stitching but the internal damage was severe and he had to be put down. Both Clive and I were pretty tearful.

“I couldn’t say for certain where this dog came from. It is very unlikely that anyone walking through with a dog was responsible. It must have been a dog running loose.

“The field is well fenced but overlooked by only one house and there is a footpath through the field.

Alpacas at the farm. Picture: Liz Pearce

“Though the alpacas have from time to time been chased by dogs whose owners have not bothered to put their dogs on a lead, there has been nothing like this sustained and vicious attack.”

Peta said she is now very concerned for her remaining two alpacas.

She added: “Alpacas are gentle creatures which have no instinct for self defence, since in their natural state they have no large predators. I urge all dog walkers to examine their consciences, and to make sure their pets are properly controlled.”

Police were called to the incident just after 11.30am on July 12.

Picture: Liz Pearce

A spokesman said: “We received a report that sometime before 11am an alpaca had sustained injuries at the location and had been put down by a vet who assessed that the injuries had been caused by a large animal, possibly a dog. None had been seen in the area at the time.

“Anyone with information can contact Sussex Police online at or call 101, quoting serial 511 of 12/07.”