Sheriff: Camel attacks, kills 2 at Tenn. petting zoo

We learned more about one of the men killed by an escaped camel in northwest Tennessee on Thursday.
Published: Mar. 11, 2022 at 10:31 AM CST
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OBION COUNTY, Tenn. (KFVS) - A camel attacked and killed two people at a petting zoo, according to the Obion County Sheriff’s Office.

According to a post on the sheriff’s office’s Facebook page, they received a call of a loose camel near Shirley Farms on South Bluff Road around 4:44 p.m. on Thursday, March 10.

When they responded to the area, deputies say they found two unconscious victims on the ground and the camel still on the loose.

They say the camel attacked an Obion County Sheriff’s Office vehicle, then moved toward deputies who were trying to move a victim to EMS.

Officers had to put the camel down for the safety of everyone on scene.

Deputies say 42-year-old Bobby Matheny, of Ridgely, Tenn., and 67-year-old Tommy Gunn, of Obion, Tenn., were pronounced dead at the scene.

Bobby Matheny has been a custodian at Lake County High School for six years.
Bobby Matheny has been a custodian at Lake County High School for six years.(Lake Co. High School)

Matheny has been a custodian at Lake County High School for six years.

Principal Mike Moore says Matheny spent his whole life in Lake County, graduating in 2000 from Lake County High School where he played football.

Moore calls Matheny the school’s number one fan.

“He loved the students and attended every sports event,” Moore said.

Matheny is being remembered for his smile and his selfless acts to support students and staff.

The district’s counselors spent the day at the school to support the students and staff following news of Matheny’s death.

His funeral service will be held at the high school gym on Sunday, March 13, starting at 3 p.m. with visitation from noon to 3.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) released a statement on the incident.

“This incident is tragic yet unsurprising. Injuries abound when animals are exploited for entertainment, and PETA urges everyone to avoid sleazy roadside attractions as if lives depended on it, because they do,” said PETA Foundation Associate Director of Captive Animal Law Enforcement Debbie Metzler.

The Lake County Sheriff’s Office, Ridgely Police Department, Tennessee Highway Patrol and Lake County Rescue Squad helped render aid and move the victims to a safe place.

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