(CNN) — A camel trampled two people to death over the weekend at a farm in Texas, authorities said.
Peggye McNair, 72, the owner of the farm and a well-known camel breeder, was one of the victims of the attack Saturday, police told CNN affiliate KFDX.
The incident at Camel Kisses Farm in Wichita Falls happened after Mark Mere, 53, got into a pen with three camels — one male and two females.
Mere apparently went into the holding pen because the animals’ water trough had frozen over.
The male camel was in rut and became very aggressive, Wichita County Sheriff David Duke said. Rut is a male animal’s peak period of fertility and sexual excitement.
It charged Mere and he tried to get out of the pen, according to authorities.
Owner McNair tried to close the gate, but the male camel came after both of them and trampled them to death, police said.
The sheriff said when deputies arrived at the scene, all three camels were acting aggressive toward them.
Relatives of the farm’s owner gave Texas game wardens permission to kill the male camel, police said.
In a 2009 interview with the Wichita Falls Times Record News, McNair said “camels have gotten a bad rap.”
The article goes on to say that “like dogs, if they are raised with cruelty, they will be dangerous. … But, also like dogs, if they are raised with love, affection, attention, treats and companionship — as hers are — they will be tame and enjoyable.”
“Of course, there are some caveats,” she said.
In the interview, she said she always takes extra precautions when the animals are in rut.
She told the newspaper about two women who raised camels as pets, who were killed when a male camel knocked them down and planted his front feet on them, common mating behavior.
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