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Camel escapes, attacks man in Southern California

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  • A camel escaped its enclosure in a California community and attacked a man who tried to corral it
  • The camel bit the 72-year-old man on the head, knocked him down and tried to stomp on him
  • Police say the owner does not have a license for the animal
  • It was corralled by the man's daughter and is being held by police as evidence
  • The man is in hospital and will require stitches in his head

By Associated Press

PUBLISHED: 18:09 EST, 14 February 2014 | UPDATED: 14:02 EST, 15 February 2014

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A camel escaped from an enclosure in a Southern California high desert community Friday, stomped a 72-year-old man who tried to capture it, and chased other people before it calmed down and was corralled.

The camel escaped in the unincorporated community of Acton and was reported chasing cars shortly after 8:30 a.m., Los Angeles County sheriff's officials said.

The man is currently in hospital and will need stitches for a gash to his head, while the camel is being held by police.

Violent: This camel may look harmless, but beneath that dopey smile is the rampaging beast that stomped on a man and bit his head

Violent: This camel may look harmless, but beneath that dopey smile is the rampaging beast that stomped on a man and bit his head

'My dad... tried to catch it and it must have cornered him or something, and it took off after him, bit him on the head and knocked him down and stomped on him,' Skylar Dossenbach told KCBS-TV.

'He crawled under something and the camel tried to pull him out from under it.'

Her father was hospitalized and needed stitches for a gash to his head, she said. His name wasn't immediately released.

'A neighbor came out and saw the commotion and got the camel away from him,' Dossenbach told KABC-TV.

Evidence: Police are holding the camel as evidence against the owner, who allegedly does not have a license to keep it

Evidence: Police are holding the camel as evidence against the owner, who allegedly does not have a license to keep it

Roaming free: Neighbors say it is not uncommon to see wild exotic animals loose in the area

Roaming free: Neighbors say it is not uncommon to see wild exotic animals loose in the area

'And the camel actually started chasing them, and they had to jump in a car, and the camel was running around after everybody.'

Dossenbach said she finally ended up capturing the camel.

'I just put a halter on him, fed him a treat and he calmly walked down to my round pen and I corralled him,' she said.

The camel was seized by animal control officials because the owner does not have a permit and because of the injury, agency spokeswoman Betsy Webster said.

The owner could be cited for endangering residents, sheriff's officials said.

Locked up: The camel was taken by police and animal welfare officers to Lancaster Animal Shelter

Locked up: The camel was taken by police and animal welfare officers to Lancaster Animal Shelter

Docile: After her father was attacked by the camel, Skylar Dossenbach managed to capture it herself

Docile: After her father was attacked by the camel, Skylar Dossenbach managed to capture it herself

Dossenbach said the camel and other animals, including a buffalo and an ostrich, previously escaped from the owner's property, which she described as a zoo. There have been as many as five escapes this year, she said.

Dossenbach said she believed no one lives on the property but a caretaker comes by daily to feed and water the animals.

The camel is now being held as evidence.

Neighbors told KTLA that it's not unusual to see exotic animals in the area.

One man said an emu got loose last year, and another said he'd seen people riding  camel in the area, though it's unclear if it's the same one.  

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