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BEST BET

April 22, 1993|ANNE KLARNER

Hey, Mom, look what followed us home from the America's Family Pet Show in Pomona. It's a real live llama!

You know, the South American member of the camel family domesticated about 4,000 years ago by the Indians of Peru as a wool and pack animal?

Can we keep it? Can we? Please?

"They make an excellent pet," says Kathleen McLeod/Mallonof Llamas of San Diego. She and her husband, who will be at the show at the Los Angeles County Fairplex this weekend, ought to know. They raise, breed and train llamas. "They're quiet and clean. They don't bark, bite, kick, chew or dig."

Please, Mom?

All that stuff about llamas having tempers and spitting is just bad press, McLeod/Mallon swears. They only spit when they're abused or teased a lot.

We promise, Mom, no llama sliming. We'll feed it every day, Mom. We promise.

An adult llama eats about a ton of hay a year.

We'll pay for it out of our. . . . It doesn't cost that much, Mom.

McLeod/Mallon says llama pellets make good fertilizer.

"They take a lot less water than a swimming pool," she says, and they only need an open shed for shade in the summer. And "all you need is a halter and a lead rope, and you can go show your llama."

How big? Well, Dad's six feet tall, and it could look Dad in the eye, but it only weighs about 350 to 400 pounds. That's just llama wool that's so big and fluffy.

Hey, Mom, you could make sweaters. And we can take it backpacking.

McLeod/Mallon says llamas are the absolute best pack animals.

And we can put it in the minivan.

That's for real, because llamas lie down when they're riding.

Come on, Mom. It could be worse. We could have brought home a boa constrictor or an iguana.

Those critters will be at the show, too, along with companion dogs for the disabled, aquarium fish, birds, exotic cats--you name it. And there will be all kinds of lectures, including one by Lydia Hiby, a pet psychic who talks to animals.

The gates of the Fairplex at 1101 W. McKinley Ave. will be open from noon to 8 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $7 for adults and $5 for senior citizens and military personnel; children 12 years and under are free. But leave your own pets at home.

Pu-le-e-e-e-eze Mom! We want a llama!

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