- Associated Press - Wednesday, December 24, 2014

SALEM, Ore. (AP) - The owner of a Willamette Valley alpaca ranch has been sentenced to three years in prison for neglecting a herd of more than 200 animals, many of which died.

Robert Silver also was ordered to pay more than $15,000 in restitution with his wife, Jocelyn Silver, the Salem Statesman Journal (http://stjr.nl/16QjSxd) reported.

She previously pleaded guilty to neglect charges and was sentenced to three years of probation. He was convicted earlier this month.

In December 2013, complaints from neighbors twice brought sheriff’s deputies and veterinarians to the couple’s 20-acre property at Falls City in the Coast Range.

They removed the bodies of 58 dead alpacas and then moved 175 malnourished animals to the College of Veterinary Medicine at Oregon State University for emergency care.

About 150 of the alpacas survived and were adopted.

Robert Silver apologized in court Tuesday, but Polk County Judge Norman Hill said he hadn’t before shown remorse.

Silver’s “position was that there was nothing wrong,” Hill said. “He did nothing to try and remedy the situation. He didn’t offer to clean up. He didn’t offer to do anything.”

By contrast, he said, Jocelyn Silver was remorseful, had helped clean up the situation and was commended by animal rescuers who helped the alpacas.

Hill also said he’d taken into account 15-year-old theft and assault charges against Silver and Silver’s control of the money for alpaca feed.

His lawyer has said that Silver used an inheritance to start an alpaca ranch his wife wanted, but the alpaca market collapsed and their money ran out..

Alpacas are South American animals whose fleece is prized. Critics have said their introduction to the United States in recent decades touched off a boom and bust in the market for breeding animals.

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Information from: Statesman Journal, http://www.statesmanjournal.com

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