Twitter joins high-speed chase for llamas on the lam

Story highlights

  • Llama owner: "They were having a lot of fun today, but we weren't"
  • Two llamas escape from an assisted living facility in Arizona
  • TV cameras follow the chase, spurring reactions on Twitter

(CNN)Picture a mix of your favorite movie car chase and a trip to the zoo.

Two llamas were on the loose in Sun City, Arizona, Thursday, with TV cameras following them as law enforcement closed in.
Of course, it didn't take long before Twitter joined in the hunt. #Llamas became a trending topic worldwide.
    The chase began after a 911 call came in to the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office just before noon, reporting that a black llama and a white llama had escaped from an assisted living facility, where they were about to do patient therapy work.
    Lt. Brandon Jones said the llamas darted between cars, delaying traffic. It took nearly an hour to catch them, CNN affiliate KNXV reported.
    In the meantime, hundreds of thousands of tweets chimed in on the topic.

    Sports teams, media outlets weigh in

    NFL Network reporter Jeff Darlington couldn't contain his excitement.
    The Tampa Bay Buccaneers were impressed with the white llama's dodging skills.
    The Arizona Cardinals also saw a recruiting opportunity, posting that the llamas would soon be joining the football team's lineup.
    ABC news anchor Tom Llamas said he was recusing himself from covering the story.
    The chase sent CNN's Steve Brusk down memory lane.
    The Daily Beast's Asawin Suebsaeng noted that it was only a matter of time before someone blamed President Barack Obama for what happened.
    The official Twitter account of the North American Aerospace Defense Command and the United States Northern Command weighed in with an analysis of the llamas' motives.
    By Thursday night, there was already a sequel to the chase.
    Police said two more llamas were on the loose in Vancouver, Washington.
    On Twitter, some joked it was a sign there could be something more serious afoot.
    But in Washington, the llamas were found before CNN affiliate KPTV's chopper made it to the scene.
    In Arizona, citizens helped capture the llamas, who were on the way home Thursday afternoon, Jones said.
    "Needless to say, they are on their way back to the ranch," the lieutenant said. "There was no therapy."
    The Twitterverse begged to differ.

    'We were totally stressed out'

    Karen Freund and Bub Bullis said their afternoon was anything but relaxing.
    They told CNN Phoenix affiliate KTVK they never expected their white llama, Kanita, and black llama, Lainey, to make a run for it at the retirement home on Thursday. Alejandro, a third llama they'd brought with them for the demonstration, stayed put.
    "They were having a lot of fun today, but we weren't. We were totally stressed out," said Freund, who was wearing an "I love llamas" T-shirt and llama earrings as she recounted the ordeal to the station.
    Bullis said the chase lasted for hours -- until a landscaper with a lasso came to the rescue.
    It's not the first time they've had to chase down a suspect. The llamas' owners are both retired police officers.
    "I have run after people before," Bullis said, "but never that fast."
    Now, with their llamas' whereabouts pinned down, they're starting to enjoy the Internet frenzy.
    "It's pretty funny to have our llamas get loose in Sun City and get this kind of attention," Bullis said.
    Freund told KTVK she's already taken an online quiz to find out whether she's a black or white llama.
    "I was the black llama," she said, laughing. "I don't know who has the time to put that together."