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Alpacas were not poisoned, preliminary investigation finds

It's the curious case of a woman's alpacas dying unexpectedly. The owner claims her animals are being poisoned. Preliminary results of an SPCA investigation released Thursday reveals the cause of death may not be poison after all.
Syracuse (WSYR-TV) - It's the curious case of a woman's alpacas dying unexpectedly. The owner claims her animals are being poisoned. Preliminary results of an SPCA investigation released Thursday reveals the cause of death may not be poison after all.

We first introduced you to Sheila Zych back in May. She's the outgoing Onondaga School Board President and says someone is sending her a political message by poisoning her most prized possessions, her alpacas.

“There's some disgruntled people that don't believe I have a right to stand up to my morals and they don't want me to push issues that are in the best interest of students,” she told NewsChannel 9.

Over the years, Zych has raised nearly 80 alpacas on Tanner Farm, but in just the past few months dozens of them were found dead on her property.

"I do believe there have been people on my property doing damage to the animals and poisoning them and doing other horrific criminal acts,” Zych said.

A recent investigation by the CNY SPCA reveals something different.

The SPCA’s Paul Morgan told NewsChannel 9, “The animals that were sent over to Cornell University have been determined the cause of death as parasites and malignancies. Now what was that caused from? Did they have it originally that it would eventually build up and cause death? We're not sure.”

Morgan says investigators did find phenol in the alpacas' system, but they will not list that as the cause of death.

Zych said, “The current comments I do not totally agree with because I have other documentation from Cornell and I have photographs of the animal with a broken neck and dislocated jaw, and that didn't just happen.”

The SPCA's investigation is still ongoing and Zych is working with an attorney to resolve this case.

Zych says she does have surveillance cameras around her property, but says the only suspicious activity she's seen was back in March when lights were captured flickering.

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