Few veterinarians will claim to be specialists in alpaca, this camelid originating in South America. Imagine a judge of the Court of Quebec-
Judge Jacques Tremblay candidly admits it; He opened his dictionary when he was told he would hear a dispute over an alpaca.
So he learned a lot from listening this week to the sad story of Mady, the female alpaca.
In the summer of 2015, Manon Harvey and his spouse Jean-François Bernier saw a web ad for two alpacas for sale. Reason for sale? Their owner retires from dairy production and wants to sell all his animals.
The couple of Saint-Basile in Portneuf goes on August 30 to the Ferme Carré Blanc in Saint-Édouard de Lotbinière.
A survivor of the zoo
Domael Blanchet and his father Renaud present Alphi, a 12-year-old male in black wool, who was bought as a young boy at the closing of the Jardin zoologique de Québec.
In a nearby paddock Mady, 15 year old female with caramel wool. Mady is expecting a little, but the Blanchet can not tell precisely when the gestation, 11 months and 11 days long, will end in the alpaca.
The owners of the Carre Blanc farm ask for $ 1000 for the two alpacas, a ridiculous price, they will say to the court. In return, the couple Harvey-Bernier claims that the nails of the beasts are trimmed.
The sellers inform their buyers that the wool has not been mowed for nearly two years. They are also late in their vaccination records.
Upon leaving his enclosure, Alphi spits out of discontent. Manon Harvey asks Blanchet if there can be a safety problem during transport. The vendors reassure them that the animals are going to lie down in the trailer.
Manon Harvey and Jean-François Bernier therefore leave with Alphi, Mady, a pocket of mold and a book on the alpacas.
Eight days later, Mady gives birth. Manon Harvey gets advice to treat the little one, called a cria, by calling the White Square Farm.
On 20 September, the female alpaca is lying on its side, feverish. This time, Mrs. Harvey is not able to reach the former owners. She communicates with a veterinarian who comes to make tests and rehydrate the animal.
Manon Harvey had to feed the little screamer in the bottle three times a day and give Mady’s hand in hand.
Anemia and Worms
Despite all the care, the female alpaca will eventually die on October 15th. Without an autopsy, the owners did not put their finger on the precise cause of the death. They know that Mady had chronic anemia, was very emaciated and had worms.
Manon Harvey and Jean-François Bernier refused Blanchet’s offer to take back the animals – before Mady’s death – and to reimburse everything.
The couple now claim Mady’s purchase cost ($ 500) as well as veterinarian fees (just over $ 1,000) and the cost of milk powder for the baby for six months. The total claim is close to $ 3,000.
The owners of the Carre Blanc Farm reiterate that they have sold healthy animals. “We have the most beautiful farm in the parish and have taken good care of the animals!” Insists Renaud Blanchet.
They refuse to pay while they do not know how Mady was treated after giving birth.
“We have sold several alpacas over the years, but always to professionals like dairy producers or pig breeders,” says Renaud Blanchet. When you fall with gentlemen-farmers , it’s not the same thing. They have everything to learn. ”
Hours are critical after childbirth, says the retired dairy producer, who thinks the alpaca may have run out of calcium after the milky climb.
Who carries the risk?
Dog, cow or alpaca, Judge Jacques Tremblay will have to consider who must bear the risk of the death of an animal after giving birth. He will also have to decide if the problem that caused Mady’s death existed in the summer of 2015, when she lived in Lotbinière, and if it constitutes a hidden defect.