Laura Zoeller

Column Laura Zoeller

Laura Zoeller is a farm wife and mother who has been blessed with a wonderful and funny - life.

Confronting a camel is not a wise move

February 17, 2014

2013 was a hard year for my family. There were times I didn’t think I would survive to see the new year. With my husband breaking his knee, my mom getting sick and passing away unexpectedly, having to leave my job,and my new car being involved in an accident with a piece of our farm equipment, there were definitely days I thought I would lose my mind. But joy of the heart is all about perspective, and I was able to see the bright side of most of those circumstances.

For example, when my husband broke his knee, I took a leave of absence from work. That meant I was off work already when my mom was diagnosed with terminal cancer. I was able to spend nearly every moment of the rest of her life with her because of my husband’s misfortune. And in that light, I can be grateful for his accident.

However, I also understand there are circumstances in our lives we don’t always get to see the bright side right away. For example, an elderly man in Southern California was recently attacked by a runaway camel that escaped its enclosure, and I cannot for the life of me think of a bright side to this story.

According to the Associated Press, the camel lived on property neighbors called a zoo and also housed other animals, such as a buffalo and an ostrich. The article said that no humans lived there, although a caretaker came by daily to feed and water the animals.

On Friday morning, a 78-year-old neighbor noticed the camel was loose, so he walked over to corral it. Instead, the camel charged at him, and he ended up being bitten, stomped on and chased into hiding.

After other neighbors saw the ruckus and ran to help, the camel stopped attacking the man. Instead, it began to chase the neighbors. They dove into their car and led the camel on a low-speed chase. (I believe it was slower than the infamous white Bronco chase of 1994, which occurred in the same state.)

Can you imagine the 911 call to police?

“Yes, can you please send help? I’ve just been bitten by a camel, and now it is chasing cars on our street.”

“I’m sorry, sir, did you say a camel … is biting people and chasing cars? A camel?”

“Yes, a camel. I’m bleeding and hiding under something because it won’t leave us alone. Send help. Maybe a Wise Man. Or a cop, since I can’t wait 12 days for someone to arrive.”

The man’s daughter apparently subdued the camel with treats and placed a halter on it before additional help arrived, though animal-control officials then seized possession of it since its owner had no permit for. The 78-year old man was hospitalized with bruises and a gash to his head that required stitches.

The man should otherwise recover, which is, in itself, a bright side. Another bright side for the camel just occurred to me; at least he doesn’t live in the Copenhagen Zoo.

Laura Zoeller can be reached at



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