An escaped camel that attacked a man in the semirural Acton area Friday morning was caught and was being held as evidence against the owner, who did not have the proper exotic-animal permit, according to authorities.
The roaming camel was discovered just before 9 a.m. on East Soledad Pass Road near the Angeles Forest Highway (map), after witnesses said they heard a commotion and barking dogs.
A man was attacked when he tried to corner the camel to capture it, according to his daughter, Skylar Dossenbach.
The camel bit him, knocked him to the ground and stomped him, Dossenbach said, leaving a wide gash on his head that required stitches.
“He crawled under something and then the camel tried to pull him out from under it,” she said. “He’s in the hospital, but he’s still in shock.”
The victim drove himself to the hospital after the attack, Miller said.
Neighbors managed to corral the animal and put it back into the pen it had escaped from, according to a news release sent out by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Friday evening.
The release, titled “No Valentine’s Day Love from Camel on the Loose,” described a “vicious camel running loose.”
“When the first deputy arrived on scene, the camel managed to free itself again and began running towards the deputy, firefighters and others,” the release stated. “The deputies and firefighters managed to use their patrol cars and fire trucks to help block the path of the camel and influence it to walk towards a nearby property.”
At that point, a woman from a nearby horse property was able to calm the camel down, get a halter on him and move him into an enclosure.
Aerial video showed animal control officers leading the camel into a trailer once it was caught, enticing it with a large bowl of food. It was taken to Lancaster Animal Shelter, according to L.A. County Animal Control Chief Deputy Director Betsey Webster.
“The alleged owner is known not to be permitted to have the camel,” Webster said in an emailed statement. “The camel will be held as evidence and will be in the care of the Lancaster shelter.
“This is a very unusual situation,” she said.
The animal was being kept isolated in a large pen at the facility, where authorities said it appeared healthy.
Charges will be sought against the owner, once he or she is found, according to county animal control Sgt. Chris Cirar.
“It’s a little different than a horse, or any other livestock, due to it being an exotic animal,” Cirar said. “They would be required to have a permit. As well as … the animal getting out, once we do find the owner, we will be filing charges.”
The strange incident generated a response from County CEO Bill Fujioka on Twitter.
Useful tip of the day: If you want to keep a pet camel, you'll need a permit from LA County.
— Los Angeles County (@CountyofLA) February 14, 2014
Neighbors said it’s not uncommon to see exotic animals kept in the Antelope Valley community; one man noted an emu had gotten loose last year.
Another said he had seen people riding a camel in the area, but it was unclear if that was the same animal involved in Friday’s attack.
KTLA’s Kareen Wynter, Melissa Pamer, Tracy Bloom and Jennifer Thang contributed to this report.