OPELOUSAS, La. (CBS Local) — A woman in Louisiana charged with animal cruelty said she shot her pet llama three times in self-defense.

Madeline Bourgeois of Opelousas said she was working in her pasture Feb. 15 when her pet llama, Earl, attacked her, CBS affiliate KLFY reported.

“Bourgeois stated she hit the llama repeatedly in an attempt to stop the attack,” the St. Landry Parish Sheriff’s Office said. “Once at the gate, she was finally able to exit the pasture, then went into her residence and retrieved her gun.”

Investigators say Bourgeois returned to the pasture and shot the llama, whose name is Earl, had bullets lodged in his neck, shoulder and abdomen.

“According to the law, Bourgeois had every right to defend herself while being attacked, but was no longer in danger after escaping the pasture,” Sheriff Bobby Guidroz said. “Ms. Bourgeois retrieved a gun and then returned and shot the llama, which constitutes the charge of felony cruelty to animals. Bourgeois should have called a vet or animal control for assistance.”

The injured llama was handed over to St. Landry Parish Animal Control & Rescue and transported to the Louisiana State University Veterinary Clinic in Baton Rouge for treatment.