Llamas on the lam in Sun City!

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By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman

SUN CITY, Ariz. -- A show-and-tell animal presentation at a retirement and assisted-living facility in Sun City took a wild turn Thursday as two llamas went on the lam.

Personnel at GenCare Lifestyle at The Carillons said the presentation included two llamas, a mother and baby, who apparently were not quite ready to go home.

When the llamas were being loaded into their trailer, the pair made a break for it. Owner Karen Freund said Kanita, the mother llama, got spooked by a resident of the facility.

"It knocked (the resident) off balance, and my heart was in my mouth," she said. "Next thing I knew, he went down to the ground, and I just kept screaming, 'Let her go, let her go,' because I figured, no big deal, we'd catch her again."

The escapees spent the next three hours or so running around the area near 103rd and Grand avenues, evading capture and drawing the attention of the nation.

"There was no way going to be enough people to get them cornered, and then they just started taking off into the neighborhood and kept going and going and going," Freund said.

Maricopa County sheriff's deputies and volunteers from the llama farm and the facility were working to corral them Thursday afternoon. A landscaper riding in the bed of a pickup truck finally lassoed the baby, named Lainey, near Lakeview Recreation Center around 1:30 p.m.

"But then Kanita, she decided free Willy and, woop, gone," said Bub Bullis, the other owner of the llamas.

The landscaper lassoed Kanita not long afterward near 103rd Avenue.

"I saw Kanita kind of running and stop, and I was like, he caught her," Buillis recalled. "So, I took off running, and when I got there, he did have her and she was not happy."

"He did a fantastic job from the back of a pickup truck," Freund added. "It was quite a distance, too."

Stephanie Schmidt, community relations coordinator for the Carillons, said their main goal was to keep the llamas away from Grand Avenue and the railroad tracks.

"I was terrified that they were going to get in traffic, cause an accident, somebody was going to get hurt," Freund said. "I jumped in people's cars, people I don't even know, that gave me rides to get further up the street. I have no idea who they were, but I thank them."

MCSO helped direct and stop traffic in the area from 99th Avenue to 107th while the pursuit was underway. There were no injuries.

The runaway llamas, while scared, tired and dehydrated, were otherwise in good condition.

Freund and Bullis, both retired Phoenix police officers, say the llamas are actually highly trained and compete in obstacle competitions.

A third llama named Alejandro also escaped but returned the trailer shortly after.

Raw video: 2 loose llamas lassoed after running amok near Phoenix