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Camel attacks man near Palmdale: 'He was stomping me and biting me'

The man attacked by a wayward camel that escaped a property near Palmdale on Friday said he had to crawl under a car to avoid more serious injuries.

"He was stomping me and biting me, and getting on his knees on top of my chest," Steve Brefka, 72, told ABC7 in an interview.

Brefka was rushed to a hospital, where he received treatment on his head for a camel bite.

A call reporting that a "vicious camel was attacking people" in the 500 block of East Soledad Pass Road came in at 8:38 a.m., said Lt. Darren Harris of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department Palmdale station.

Neighbors had managed to tie up the camel and return it to its property, but it managed to free itself again while deputies and fire officials were present, Harris said.

Authorities used patrol cars and fire engines to try to block the path of the animal, which ran about a quarter of a mile from the caretaker's property, he said. 

The camel then approached the owner of an adjacent property who was standing on the other side of a fence, he said. She was "able to calm it" and lead it into a horse corral on her property, Harris said.

The camel, a male, is in the custody of the Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care and Control, said Betsey Webster, the department's chief deputy director. The camel, which is being held in a corral at a department facility in Lancaster, will be examined by an equine veterinarian, Webster said. 

"He looks good," Webster said. "He's moving around, but obviously we want to see what a veterinarian has to say."

The county is investigating the animal's breakout, Webster said. The department has been trying to reach the owner of the property but has been unable to do so, she said. 

"The person who is alleged to be the owner does not have a permit" for the camel, she said. 


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