GROSSE TETE — A Florida woman freed herself from a camel by biting its testicles at the Tiger Truck Stop in Grosse Tete last week after she crawled into the animal's pen to retrieve her dog and the camel sat on her, authorities said.
The woman's husband had been throwing treats to their dog under Caspar the camel's fence Wednesday evening before the dog went inside, the Iberville Parish Sheriff's Office said Sunday.
After the dog began interacting with the camel, the couple crawled in to get it, officials said. While inside, the camel sat on the woman and she bit the animal, a male dromedary, to get it off of her.
"She said, ‘I bit his balls to get him off of me, I bit his testicles to get him off of me,'” Iberville Parish Deputy Louis Hamilton Jr. said.
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The investigation found that the couple had provoked the camel before it sat on the woman. "The camel did nothing wrong," Hamilton said. "They (the couple) were aggressive. The camel was just doing its normal routine."
The truck stop, located 20 minutes outside of Baton Rouge, keeps a camel named Caspar and for many years controversially kept a tiger for visitors to see on-site. The couple, who weren't identified, stopped at the truck stop to let the dog out.
Authorities didn't find reasons to hold the truck stop liable for their injuries because the camel was enclosed and signs warning visitors to stay out are posted every 10 feet along the fence.
“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,” Hamilton said.
Deputies cited the couple for a leash law violation and criminal trespassing.
State laws prohibit people from letting their dogs run free on enclosed or unenclosed private property.
The Grosse Tete truck stop has been fending off animal rights activists for years who wanted a tiger that was once caged there removed from the property. The tiger died last year after 17 years living in captivity. The truck stop also keeps a petting zoo with a miniature horse, a baby kangaroo and a coati, a member of the raccoon family.
Hamilton said he was baffled by the entire incident and by the couple's behavior.
"My only question to her husband was: ‘Why did you throw the doggy treat under the fence?’ Hamilton explained. “And he just said, ‘I wasn’t thinking.’”
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Pamela Bossier, the truck stop's manager, said the couple should have sought help from employees who were inside the truck stop's 24-hour cafe, just a few yards from Caspar's pen.
Instead, they crawled under a single strand of barbed wire at the bottom of the fence, likely hurting themselves. Once inside, Bossier said, the man shoved the camel and used his hat to swat at it.
That upset the camel, she said.
"Any animal you provoke, they're going to strike back," Bossier said. "It's instinct."
Bossier said in the 30 years the stop has kept wild animals, including the tiger, it hasn't had any attacks on visitors, including Caspar.
"He's really a gentle giant," she said.
By the time attorneys from the Animal Legal Defense Fund received the results of a records request for Tony the tiger’s veterinary checkup, it…
This story has been corrected to show that the incident occurred last Wednesday, not Thursday, as initially reported by the Iberville Parish Sheriff's Office.