A camel at a Grosse Tete truck stop is on antibiotics but appears to be in good health after a veterinarian visit Monday, nearly a week after authorities said a Florida woman bit its testicles when the 600-pound animal sat on her after she and her husband entered its pen and tried shooing it away from their dog.
The bizarre encounter unfolded last week when Gloria and Edmond Lancaster, 68 and 73 of Milton, Florida let their unleashed dog out at the Tiger Truck Stop and it darted under a fenced off area housing Caspar the camel, according to the Iberville Parish Sheriff’s Office. But authorities and the truck stop’s owner say the couple provoked the 600-pound dromedary when they shoved and swatted at it, which upset it.
A sheriff’s office report released Monday noted that the couple was feeding their deaf dog treats near the fence, and investigators found bone-shaped treats inside of the 6-foot-tall enclosure that’s surrounded by signs warning visitors to keep out. During the frenetic scramble to gather the small dog, the camel sat on the Gloria Lancaster, and she told authorities and people at the truck stop that she bit its testicles to get the animal off her, according to the report.
Gloria Lancaster suffered injuries to her abdomen, neck, shoulder, arm and head. Medics transported her to a local hospital with non-critical injuries, according to Arcadian Ambulance Service.
Tiger Truck Stop Manager Pamela Bossier said a veterinarian checked Caspar on Monday, and he appeared to be fine but was given antibiotics as a precaution. She described the towering animal as docile, a “gentle giant.”
The sheriff’s office report noted that Edmond Lancaster suffered minor cuts and said the camel bit him and tried stomping on the dog. But an investigation found the husband’s cuts came from the barbed wire, and security video footage didn’t appear to show the dog and camel fighting, according to the report.
A deputy wrote in the report that the couple had given “numerous inconsistent verbal statements” that couldn’t be corroborated through surveillance video and others who saw the encounter.
He cited them for violating dog leash laws and trespassing into the enclosure, both misdemeanors. The sheriff’s office didn’t find reasons to hold the truck stop liable for their injuries because of the signs warning visitors to stay out.
The camel is one of several exotic animals the truck stop has on display for visitors, including a miniature horse, a kangaroo and a Coati, a member of the raccoon family that’s native to Central and South America.
But the roadside attraction has drawn fire from animal rights groups who for years have sought to remove the animals, including a tiger that lived in Caspar’s pen before it was euthanized in 2017.
Owner Michael Sandlin said the truck stop hasn’t had any issues with his animals attacking people, including Caspar.
He said camels sometimes react by sitting or laying on things they see as a threat but are typically friendly with people. He added that video he reviewed showed that Edmond Lancaster stayed in the enclosure for several minutes after his wife got out and continued shoving the camel.
“I’m not sure if he was angry at it or what,” Sandlin said. “But it strengthens our argument that they were up to no good,” he said.
He said that he plans to release the video at a later time.
Calls to phone numbers and messages left on the Lancasters’ social media accounts weren’t returned Monday.
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