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    Injured llama returns to shaken home

    The owners plan to attend a hearing for one of the teens accused of beating two llamas.

    By LEANORA MINAI

    © St. Petersburg Times, published February 18, 2001


    photo
    [Times photo: Jill Sagers]
    Willie Wonka, beaten with a golf club last week, has skill fractures and lost one eye. He returned home Saturday after receiving $2,000 in veterinary care.
    EAST LAKE -- Life is not the same in the llama corral on Keith and Susan Appenzeller's property.

    They returned home Saturday from a wrenching ordeal at a Gainesville animal hospital, where their pet llama, Monopoly, was pronounced dead last week after a beating.

    In the corral Saturday afternoon, the Appenzellers watched Monopoly's baby, Marshall Montana Blue, graze and drink water. Keith Appenzeller tried to get it to nurse another llama, but she would have nothing of it. Marshall, 3 months old, is an orphan now.

    Another baby llama, 3-month-old Willie Wonka, also was beaten with a golf club. He came home scared, missing a left eye and bumping into things as he walked.

    "His face might be asymmetrical, but that's okay," Mrs. Appenzeller said. "We can deal with that."

    Willie's mother, Shania, was not injured in last week's attack. Pinellas County sheriff's detectives say the two llamas were beaten by two teenagers, Robert B. Pettyjohn Jr., son of the county's EMS medical director, and 17-year-old Brandon Eldred of East Lake.

    Eldred was released from the county's juvenile assessment center, but Pettyjohn, 18, was held Saturday in the Pinellas County Jail in lieu of $30,000 bail.

    Pettyjohn, who lives a half-mile from the llamas' home, told detectives he didn't remember details about the beating because he had taken four Xanax pills, a prescription anti-depressant, and quickly had drunk nine beers.

    Pettyjohn's bail hearing is at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday in the Pinellas County Criminal Justice Center in Largo.

    The Appenzellers say they will attend the session.

    "We want for the judge to keep them in jail," said Keith Appenzeller, 48, who found the bloody llamas on their Ranch Road homesite.

    He is encouraged, he said, that animal cruelty is a felony in the state.

    "But there's not too many cases where people get a whole lot of time out of it," Appenzeller said.

    And nothing will ever erase the horrifying images of Feb. 11.

    "You're not going to be able to give back the animal that was killed," said Appenzeller, a civil engineer.

    He found Willie sitting outside their fence when he went to get the newspaper at 7 a.m. As he got closer, he saw blood running out of Willie's nose. And the llama's left eye was gouged.

    Monopoly was in worse shape.

    "She got up and walked and collapsed," Appenzeller said.

    A veterinarian, Dr. Keely Smith, came over and pumped 6 liters of IV fluid into Monopoly. Soon after, the family loaded their four llamas onto a horse trailer and set off for a University of Florida animal hospital.

    Along the way, the Appenzellers' sons, Dustin, 15, and Dylan, 9, made their father stop at intersections to check on Monopoly. He looked each time and saw her lying in the trailer. Her baby, Marshall, was resting his head on her.

    When they arrived at the hospital, Monopoly was dead. She lived just four of her expected 25 years.

    "And Marshall was just lying on top of her," said Mrs. Appenzeller, 43.

    Willie survived after nearly $2,000 in veterinary care. His scars will remain. His left eyelid is sewn shut, and he has skull fractures.

    "But," said Mrs. Appenzeller, "the doctors said those will heal by themselves."

    Recent coverage

    Suspect in llama attack faces new charge (February 15, 2001)

    Llama attack shakes idyllic neighborhood (February 14, 2001)

    2 llamas beaten; teenager charged (February 12, 2001)

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