AlpacaGram 9.49 | AOA Sanctions Member

Alpaca Owners Association, Inc.

AlpacaGram 9.49July 5, 2022

AOA Sanctions Member

AOA Members:

In late February 2022, AOA became aware that law enforcement officers in Owen County, Indiana, had served an order to seize animals at the farm owned by AOA member SueLynne Childers. The officers had found 28 deceased alpacas at the farm. Additionally, the officers had seized seven live alpacas and a number of other animals from the farm because the animals were reportedly in poor health, lacked food and water, and were severely malnourished. Due to news reports about this incident, numerous AOA members contacted AOA’s office staff and Board members to express concern about these events and Ms. Childers’ membership in AOA.

A few weeks later, the Sheriff of Owen County, Indiana, released a statement that Ms. Childers had been arrested and charged with two felonies in connection with the treatment of animals on her farm. After this information was made public, AOA’s staff and Board members were once again contacted by numerous members who expressed concern about Ms. Childers’ continued membership in AOA.

The AOA Board then conducted an official investigation into the matter under AOA’s Policy for Investigating and Discipline, Suspension or Expulsion of a Member. Following a thorough investigation, the Board served Ms. Childers with a complaint outlining the results of the Board’s investigation. Thereafter, Ms. Childers was allowed to submit a written response to the complaint and to participate in a hearing in front of the Board on June  1, 2022, all in accordance with AOA’s Policy. The Board then conducted further investigation to follow up on information cited by Ms. Childers and to interview individuals named by Ms. Childers in her written response and testimony at the hearing.

On June 8, 2022, the Board met to reach a decision in this matter. As an association serving the alpaca industry, AOA has a deep concern for the health, safety and well-being of alpacas. Based on all of the evidence reviewed by the Board, the Board concluded that Ms. Childers’ actions with respect to the alpacas she owned and was responsible to care for were not aligned with AOA’s principles. As a result, the Board permanently terminated Ms. Childers’ membership in AOA. Ms. Childers will no longer be able to exercise any of the rights or privileges of AOA membership, including registering any animals with AOA’s registry or transferring any registrations into her account. However, out of concern for any animals currently registered in Ms. Childers’ account which may be still living, AOA will transfer registrations out of her account if AOA receives requests for such transfers and appropriate documentation.

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