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A Rampaging Camel Killed Two Men At A Tennessee Petting Zoo

A camel at Shirley Farms, a petting zoo in Tennessee, escaped its enclosure and attacked a number of folks earlier than police arrived on the scene.

Camels Shirley Farm

The Pumpkin Barn LLC/FbIndividuals interacting with camels at Shirley Farms in 2017.

On March 10, 2022, the Obion County Sheriff’s Workplace acquired an uncommon name. A camel, the caller stated, had “viciously attacked” two folks close to Shirley Farms, a petting zoo about 100 miles north of Memphis, Tennessee.

A number of legislation enforcement businesses arrived on the scene shortly after the 5:44 p.m. name — and located the camel’s rampage nonetheless in progress.

“Deputies arrived on scene to seek out two unconscious victims on the bottom at Shirley Farms and a camel nonetheless on the unfastened,” the Obion County Sheriff’s Workplace reported.

However as legislation enforcement officers tried to render assist to the victims, the camel turned its ire onto them. It “attacked an Obion County Sheriff’s Workplace automobile,” the Obion Sheriff’s Workplace defined, earlier than charging “in direction of deputies who have been trying to maneuver a sufferer to EMS.”

At that time, “officers needed to put the camel down for the protection of everybody on scene.”

Sadly, the camel’s two victims — Bobby Matheny, 42, of Ridgely, Tennessee, and Tommy Gunn, 67, of Obion, Tennessee — succumbed to their accidents. In accordance to a member of the family, the boys had been making an attempt to assist seize the camel when it attacked and started stomping them.

Pumpkin Barn Camel

The Pumpkin Barn, LLCA camel at Shirley Farms. It’s unclear if that is the camel that fatally attacked two males.

The petting zoo has confronted criticism from the U.S. Division of Agriculture up to now. In 2018, a Division of Agriculture inspector famous that adults and youngsters at Shirley Farms “have been petting and feeding animals with none worker/attendant current.”

They added: “There’s a barrier current between the general public and the non-human primates however not for any of the opposite species current together with a zebra, camels, llamas, alpacas, goats, sheep, pigs, fallow deer, kangaroo, zebu, rabbits, cavy, and prairie canines…”

“To stop harm to the general public and the animals and to make sure correct human-animal interactions [and] feeding, an attendant should be current”

Then, in 2019, an inspector criticized Shirley Farms for not offering satisfactory ingesting water to its camels and zebras. They wrote: “The one entry to ingesting water for the camels and zebra was a really small shallow muddy creek operating via their enclosure. There was no entry to any water troughs or different potable water supply.”

A 2021 report additionally made notice that the farm had at the least one dromedary camel, a sort of camel that has a shoulder top of at the least six ft and usually weighs round 1,100 kilos.

Camel Rides At Shirley Farms

The Pumpkin Barn LLC/FbCamel rides provided at Shirley Farms in 2017.

It’s not identified if Shirley Farms corrected these points. And it’s unclear why precisely the camel turned violent within the first place. Bernard Faye, a retired camel scientist in France and chairman of the Worldwide Society of Camelid Analysis and Growth, famous that feminine camels normally solely turn out to be aggressive to guard their younger. Male camels, alternatively, are extra aggressive throughout rutting season, which lasts from November to March.

“Generally they’re fully loopy,” he stated. “Often, if the male is appropriately managed, there is no such thing as a drawback.”

A camel knowledgeable additionally informed NewsChannel5 Community that “A full-grown [camel] can suit your head, arm, leg, or torso in its mouth. They’ve sufficient energy to crush legs and arms alongside together with your neck whereas kicking ahead and backwards… Camels will do a mixture of all these issues whereas kneeling ahead to crush you.”

Certainly, although camel assaults are uncommon, they do occur. The Nationwide Library of Medication famous, “These working with camels must be conscious that the scale, energy, and temperament of those animals might make them harmful.”

The animals, the establishment added, have been identified to kick, stomp, kneel, or sit on people. They’ve additionally been identified to chew, shake, or throw them.

Shirley Farms acknowledged that they have been grieving within the wake of the assault and had no touch upon the weird tragedy.


After studying concerning the Tennessee camel assault, be taught concerning the camel that bit off its proprietor’s head after being tied up within the warmth all day. Or, uncover the story of the alcoholic monkey that bit 250 folks and killed one in India.

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