Camel Fatally Attacks 2 Men at Tennessee Farm

Deputies had to put the animal down
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 14, 2022 12:01 AM CDT
Camel Goes on the Attack, Kills 2 at Tennessee Farm
Stock photo   (Getty Images / Adil Chelebiyev)

A camel somehow got free at a Tennessee farm Thursday and went on the attack, leaving two men dead. The details of the rampage are not clear, but Bobby Matheny, 42, of Ridgely, Tenn., and Tommy Gunn, 67, of Obion, Tenn., were pronounced dead at the scene, the New York Times reports. Sheriff's deputies who responded to Shirley Farms were trying to move one of the men when the camel charged them, and they were forced to "put the camel down for the safety of everyone on scene," according to a statement from the Obion County Sheriff’s Office. The camel had previously attacked a sheriff's office vehicle, the Jackson Sun reports.

A US Agriculture Department inspection report from September showed the farm had at least one dromedary camel; the animals can weigh as much as 1,100 pounds and reach a height of at least six feet at the shoulder. The farm had, in 2017, advertised camel rides and animal petting areas, though it's not clear whether those were still offered. It's also not clear whether the farm had rectified a situation detailed in a 2019 inspection report, which noted there was no barrier separating camels from guests. And, finally, it's not known whether the animal was a female (they are not known for being aggressive) or a male, which are known for being aggressive during their mating season between November and March. (Read more Tennessee stories.)

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