Camel Escapes Tennessee Petting Zoo, 'Viciously' Attacks and Kills 2

Two people are dead after being attacked by a loose camel that escaped a Tennessee petting zoo, authorities said Friday. The camel was later euthanized.

The Obion County Sheriff's Office said it received reports of a camel on the loose that was attacking people Thursday afternoon near the Shirley Farms petting zoo.

Camels at Shirley's Farm
The camels inside The Pumpkin Barn enclosure at the Shirley Farms petting zoo. Facebook

Deputies found two unconscious victims on the ground upon arriving at the scene and the camel was still on the loose, Sheriff Karl Jackson said Friday.

In audio obtained by CBS News, a dispatcher can be heard reporting "two 911 calls of two people being viciously attacked by a camel at Shirley Farms." The men, Bobby Matheny, 42, and Tommy Gunn, 67, were pronounced dead at the scene. It is unclear how the camel managed to escape its enclosure, what provoked the attacks and what type of injuries the men sustained.

Camel Put Down for 'Safety of Everyone on Scene'

Deputies said the camel attacked an Obion County Sheriff's Office vehicle, then moved toward deputies who were trying to move a victim to EMS. and "it was at this time officers had to put the camel down for the safety of everyone on scene."

Shirley Farms asked for time to grieve the attack and said they were not making any statements at this time. In 2018, six children and one adult were injured when a camel ended up getting loose and running wild at a circus in Pittsburgh. And in 2015, two people were trampled to death when a man snuck into a camel's holding pen on a Texas farm.

PETA Releases Statement

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) released a statement on the incident.

"This incident is tragic yet unsurprising. Injuries abound when animals are exploited for entertainment, and PETA urges everyone to avoid sleazy roadside attractions as if lives depended on it, because they do," said PETA Foundation Associate Director of Captive Animal Law Enforcement Debbie Metzler.