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January 4th, 2011
Taser Report Du Jour

An out-of-control camel at a Kiln residence has attacked two people in the past month, causing damage to a car and sending one man to the hospital, authorities said Wednesday. One of the instances resulted in a sheriff's deputy using a Taser to subdue the beast.

The animal, a Dromedary camel, lives at the home of Donna Berdine at 3316 Firetower Road. The Dromedary or "Arabic" camel is known for its single hump, in contrast to the Bactrian camel, which has two.

They are native to dry desert areas. Berdine also has other exotic animals at her residence, including a zebra.
Camels, zebras, and horses roam freely at the home of Donna Berdine in Kiln. Over the past month, however, authorities say the domesticated camel has attacked two people, damaged a car, and the beast recently had to be subdued with a Taser.

Her property is fenced and gated with the animals roaming freely inside.

Major Bobby Underwood of the Hancock County Sheriff's Department said Wednesday his department first began getting complaints about the camel on Dec. 4.

According to Underwood, Nedra Lewis of Waveland was driving through Kiln when she noticed the camel outside the fence at Berdine's residence.

Lewis told police that she pulled into the driveway hoping to notify the owners that the camel was on the lam, but the camel attacked her red Nissan, Underwood said.

Startled and trapped in her car, Lewis called police, Underwood said.

Deputy Ed Merwin arrived a short time later and saw the camel still attacking the vehicle, according to Merwin's police report.

"As I approached the animal in an attempt to run it away from attacking the female's car, the animal turned and started to come towards me," Merwin said. "I tried to chase the animal away so the female could get her car to safety outside the gate. The animal was not complying with my commands. At this time, the animal was tased once. It fled to to the other side of the property."

The camel inflicted several scratches on Lewis' car, Merwin said. Berdine was contacted by phone and agreed to pay for the damages, the report said.

The camel was allowed to stay on the property, Underwood said.

A few weeks later, however, the camel was apparently at it once again.

Underwood said deputies received another complaint on Christmas about the camel knocking down a man.

Underwood said the camel apparently injured the man, who was taken to the hospital, Underwood said.

The name of the victim was not available by press time Thursday.

Former county attorney Gerald Gex said Wednesday he does not recall the county ever having a specific ordinance against exotic animals.

"There are several state statutes involving dangerous animals, but I have not been able to locate one involving a camel," Gex said.

Underwood said he is not sure what the camel's future will be.

"In my 42 years in law enforcement, I've never had to deal with a camel problem," he said. "I've been told the camel is really gentle. I don't know what got him fired up. We are going to continue to monitor the situation."

Berdine was not available for comment by press time Thursday, but someone at her residence said the camel was between two and three years old. 




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