Grosse Tete, LA – A Florida woman is recovering after a 600-pound camel sat on her at a truck stop petting zoo and she had to bite its testicles to get the animal off of her.
The incident occurred on Sept. 18 after 68-year-old Gloria Lancaster and her husband had just finished eating dinner at the Tiger Truck Stop Café off Interstate 10 west of Baton Rouge, The Advocate reported.
Surveillance video footage from the truck stop showed that Lancaster and her husband wandered over to Caspar the camel’s pen with their 10-pound, 14-year-old, deaf Japanese Chin dog.
In the video, the dog strayed away from them and slipped into the camel’s pen, according to The Advocate.
The Iberville Parish Sheriff’s Office later found bone-shaped dog biscuits inside the camel’s pen but Lancaster denied having tossed them there.
She said her dog has no teeth and cannot eat biscuits, The Advocate reported.
Once the pooch was inside the pen, the camel began interacting with the deaf, elderly dog and tried to step on it.
Despite the fact that the petting zoo has signs every 10 feet that warn visitors to stay out of Caspar’s pen, Lancaster and her husband followed the dog inside to retrieve him, scooting under an area at the bottom of the fence that was guarded by only one string of barbed wire, according to The Advocate.
The couple tried to shoo the camel away from their pet by swatting it with a baseball cap.
That startled the animal, who knocked Lancaster down and then sat on her, The Advocate reported.
“I told my husband, ‘Get the dog; get out of here. I’m already dead,'” Lancaster said after being discharged from the hospital. “My whole body’s crushing. I felt it. I could hear it.”
So she did what she could to free herself.
“It was its testicles, and I bit them and he got off of me,” Lancaster told The Advocate. “And I would do it again.”
She was transported to a hospital in Baton Rouge with injuries to her abdomen, shoulder, neck, arm, and head.
Lancaster told The Advocate she had continued treatment for broken ribs, a broken collarbone, and a punctured lung back home in Pensacola, Florida.
The owner of the Tiger Truck Stop, Mike Sandlin, said he’s never had an animal attack a visitor before in the 30 years he’s had the petting zoo of exotic animals.
The zoo had a tiger on site for 17 years until it died last year. It still has a miniature horse, a baby kangaroo and a coati (part of the raccoon family), according to The Advocate.
Sandlin said the couple should have asked an employee for help instead of going inside the pen, The Advocate reported.
He also said the deaf dog should have been on a leash.
“The camel has never been aggressive, the camel has never gotten out, never caused any issues — in fact, the husband and wife stated before that we’ve been here before and we’ve never had any problems,” Iberville Parish Deputy Louis Hamilton Jr. told The Advocate.
Lancaster blamed the camel for trying to stomp on her dog, but the authorities saw the situation differently.
Deputies cited the couple for violating leash laws and trespassing in Caspar’s enclosure, The Advocate reported.
“There’s things I did wrong, and there are things they did wrong,” Lancaster said. “Why not come together and see if we can fix this?”
“The camel did nothing wrong,” Deputy Hamilton said, according to The Washington Post. “They were aggressive. The camel was just doing its normal routine.”
The camel was visited by a veterinarian who gave it antibiotics to treat the human bite to its testicles, according to The Advocate.
But the vet said the medication was a precaution and declared that Caspar was in good health.