Basil's Baby" watercolor © Drew Strouble

Monday, September 3, 2007

Woman, 60, Killed by Pet Camel

A PET camel that killed a 60-year-old woman in a bizarre attack in the Outback had been given to her as a birthday present from her family.The 10-month-old animal knocked the woman to the ground, stomped on her head and then lay on top of her yesterday at her sheep and cattle property near Mitchell, about 600km west of Brisbane.The woman's husband discovered her body about 6.30pm after he returned from feeding stock.Police said yesterday the pet had a history of odd behaviour, attempting to smother the family's pet goat on many occasions by sitting on it. Roma police Sen-Det Craig Gregory said the victim's husband was devastated."The camel was actually a 60th birthday present that he and his daughter got her in March," he said. "She had a love of exotic pets."Sen-Det Gregory said the victim, whose name has not been released, had been knocked over by the camel.The woman had suffered "one definite footprint" on one side of her face and one on her arm."It's either smothered her or brought on a heart turn," Sen-Det Gregory said."It had a bit of a habit with a goat, knocking it over and sort of straddling it and lying on top of it."It's been chased off the goat a few times."Sen-Det Gregory said the family had intended giving the woman a llama or an alpaca for her birthday, but they were too expensive.Townsville-based camel expert Paddy McHugh said the behaviour was "extremely unusual" for a camel so young."That's a characteristic of a camel out of control," he said.Mr McHugh said that type of behaviour was more characteristic of a bull in season."But the amount of people that have been killed by camels, I can probably count them on my one hand in Australia over the last 100 years."

Herald Sun

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