An alpaca that brought a busy Birmingham road to a standstill has been identified as a therapy animal that escaped from her home in a school field. Now identified, Angel the alpaca was seen galloping down Soho Road, leaving motorists and shoppers stunned.
The runaway barnyard animal was spotted dashing between moving traffic outside a row of shops. She was then seen pounding the pavements outside Bobby’s Punjabi Food Corner on Soho Road, one of the busiest stretches in the city.
At the time, the RSPCA were unsure of Angel’s fate following his run to freedom. But Angel’s owner has now come forward to clear up the mystery.
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Owner Anji Barker said Angel escaped from a nearby school grounds by jumping over a fence before “happily strolling” down the busy street on June 2. And it turns out Angel has been changing lives in Birmingham, visiting inner-city schools as a therapy animal.
Anji, who runs the charity Newbigin Community Trust, said: “Angel escaped from one of the three fields we keep her in by jumping over a fence while she was pregnant. Soho.”
She added: “I was really scared at the time because it’s a busy road with lots of people and lots of cars, anything could have happened to him. But alpacas spit or sit if they’re stressed and I saw the images which reassured me because she looked like she was having the best time of her life.
“She was trotting around carelessly. It must have been quite a sight.”
Images of Angel’s exploits sparked a huge reaction on the @imjustbrum Instagram page, with tens of thousands of people sharing their bewilderment. But Anji reassured the public, “Luckily the police and community members were able to nab her pretty quickly and I was able to bring her home 15 minutes after she escaped.
Anjie continued, “We have three alpacas and we mainly take them to schools and use them for pet therapy. They are well cared for and bring much joy to an underprivileged community.
“It was just an unfortunate one-off incident. We are a small charity with very little but we can reassure people that our animals are being looked after extremely well.
“She is used to busy city streets and I take her for walks sometimes, if she had lived in the countryside it would have been terrifying for her.
“But she seemed to be enjoying her little adventure – I just hope she doesn’t think about doing another run to freedom.”
Hannad Bare, a 23-year-old resident, witnessed the scene as he headed for a haircut. “It was really weird, I can’t even figure out where it came from. You expect to see them in the countryside but not in the middle of Birmingham.
“On a more serious note, he could have easily been seriously injured as the road to Soho is busy at all times of the day. He could have easily injured himself or even injured a child, but he rushed along a quieter residential road and I think it was safely captured.
“It was the last thing I expected to see on my way to a hair appointment, it was quite a surreal day.”
A West Midlands Police spokesperson said: ‘We were called at 12.45pm to Soho Road and helped reunite the animal with its owner.