FAIRFAX COUNTY, Va. (DC News Now) — There was llama drama in Fairfax County over the weekend after a llama was seen running along the Fairfax County Parkway. Now, Kirt Chase is breathing a sigh of relief after his 20-year-old llama Kolby got out Sunday night, causing quite a stir around the area and for local law enforcement.
Around 11 p.m. on Sunday, Kolby the llama escaped from her fenced-in home on Popes Head Road in Fairfax. Her owner Kirt Chase believes his neighbor’s dog got into the pen and spooked her, then she took off through an open gate.
He explained that just a few years ago, Kolby was brutally attacked and almost killed by two pit bulls, leaving her petrified of dogs.
“She’s very scared, so she was running. They tried to come in and get the dog, and sometime during that time, [she] either ran out the fence or got scared and jumped over the fence, which I highly doubt because she’s pretty old,” Chase explained.
He also explained that this wasn’t the first time his neighbor’s dog has gotten into Kolby’s pen, but this was the first time she ever left as she was born and raised on the property 20 years ago. Chase didn’t even know she got out until the next afternoon.
He recounted his Monday, explaining that he left his house that morning, thinking Kolby was still in her pen but started to panic after she didn’t come running for her daily meal.
“All you can do is panic because you’re afraid that she could get hit, somebody could hit her,” Chase explained. “It could cause an accident and cause somebody harm.”
Chase was able to reunite with Kolby just a day after her great escape. He explained that once he realized she was missing, he started looking for her, calling her name and asking neighbors if they had seen her. Then he called the police, who notified him they had captured her Sunday night and brought her to the Fairfax County Animal Shelter.
Some of the Fairfax County Animal Protection officers were stunned by the task of capturing Kolby.
“I was like full sprint run out on the Fairfax County Parkway,” Officer Sarah Paisley, who was the first to respond to the call, said. “I was trying to at one point I was running up Fairfax County Parkway just trying to keep eyes on it.”
Officers Sarah Paisley and J. Thompson were some of the officers called to try and capture Kolby. The Fairfax County Police Department also used a helicopter with infrared cameras to aid in the efforts.
Chase was surprised he didn’t hear the chopper but was even more stunned to learn about the efforts of officers trying to corral Kolby. He said llamas are very fast animals and tend to bolt if they get spooked, which is exactly what happened during Sunday’s pursuit.
“I kept trying to get it with the rope a couple of times and it just kept going right by it,” Thompson explained.
After Kolby was caught, she was brought to the Fairfax County Animal Shelter, another entity that never previously encountered a runaway llama before. Shelter director Reasa Currier explained that while they are an open-access shelter and have encountered a multitude of different animals before, they had yet to care for a llama.
When Kolby was brought to the shelter, she was checked by a veterinarian to ensure she wasn’t hurt after the ordeal. The shelter was then tasked with reuniting her with her owner.
“One of our big tools that we use is social media so we posted about Kolby on social media, and then I also reached out to owners of llamas I knew that were in that area,” Currier explained.
After arriving at the shelter, Chase was more than grateful to see Kolby and then began searching for a trailer to transport her back to her home.
“I’m very grateful, first of all to the person who saw her running, very grateful to the animal shelter and the police officers that came and got her,” Chase said. “I don’t know how they got her because she’s fast!”
Her adventure caused quite a stir and quite the challenge for Fairfax County Animal Protection officers. While this was their first service call for a loose llama, Officers Paisley and Thompson say they’re more surprised by the attention the incident is receiving. The two officers say it’s all in a day’s work.
“It’s a fun call. It’s I think a unique call but I think we do do a lot of this every single day just with different animals,” Thompson said.
Chase says Kolby is still not back to her normal self, but he’s hopeful that she’ll make a full recovery in the coming days.