Rampaging camel kills 2 on Tenn. farm and attacks again after EMS, police arrive

Members of the Lake County Rescue Squad and other agencies were trying to get the victims into an ambulance when the camel reappeared


Jessica Schladebeck
New York Daily News

OBION, Tenn. — A rampaging camel on the loose in Tennessee killed two men and then attacked a police car, according to authorities.

Deputies responded Thursday to the Shirley Farms in Obion, where they found Bobby Matheny, 42, and Tommy Gunn, 67 — unconscious on the ground, according to the Obion County Sheriff’s Office. Police said the men had just been attacked by the animal, which was running free on the property when they arrived.

The Lake County Sheriff’s Office, Ridgely Police Department, Tennessee Highway Patrol, and the Lake County Rescue Squad responded to the deadly  camel attack.
The Lake County Sheriff’s Office, Ridgely Police Department, Tennessee Highway Patrol, and the Lake County Rescue Squad responded to the deadly camel attack. (Photo/Lake County Rescue Squad)

The Lake County Sheriff’s Office, Ridgely Police Department, Tennessee Highway Patrol, and the Lake County Rescue Squad also responded to the scene to provide aid and safely relocate the men.

As deputies were attempting to load one of the victims into a waiting ambulance, the camel emerged and again started to attack. This time it targeted a Sheriff’s Office vehicle.

“It was at this time officers had to put the camel down for the safety of everyone on scene,” Obion County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release.

Matheny and Gunn succumbed to their injuries and died at the scene, officials said.

It’s not clear how the camel initially got loose, but Shirley Farms is also home to Pumpkin Barn LLC, a playground and a popular petting zoo, according to its Facebook page.

The incident remains under investigation.

While camels rarely attack people, Debbie Metzler, the Associate Director for Captive Animal Law Enforcement for PETA, said animals will act beyond the norm when they are kept in captivity.

“When animals are exploited for entertainment, this is not surprising,” she told WBBJ. “It’s tragic, but not surprising, and both animals and humans are at risk in situations like this.”

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