HANCOCK COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - HANCOCK COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - Donna Berdine's Firetower Road home is like a private zoo. She has a camel, two kangaroos, a zebra and 16 horses that roam the landscape.
Berdine said, "We're just incredible animal lovers."
However one of her beloved animals, Boudreaux, the Arabian single hump camel has been accused of being hostile and toward people.
Berdine said on most days, the camel is as docile as he can be. But Sheriff's officials paint a very different picture of the animal. They say he attacked a woman's car early last month and on Christmas Eve injured a man.
Authorities said the first attack came when a woman driving by the property tried to alert the owner that the camel had gotten out of its fence.
"The camel got on her car. She was, of course, concerned. She called 911," said Bobby Underwood with the Hancock County Sheriff's Department. "Deputy Ed Merwin arrived and tried to throw his arms up and frighten the camel away, and the camel started at him. At that point, Deputy Merwin tased the camel."
"Camels have something we've known for years. It's called baby exuberance. And when they get excited, they will bounce around, it's a front and back motion," Berdine said. "We have a large tractor and from day one he would look in and see his image and think it was his mother, and he wants to lay next to them. And I have no doubt when he got out onto the road, the lady pulled in to be helpful, he just got excited. Well, it scared her."
Berdine said she has owned the three-year-old camel since he was just three months old. And she often allows people to get an up close look at her exotic pets. She's even taken some of them to schools.
"They're low maintenance, they all are. And very great dispositions and wonderful temperaments," Berdine said.
Hancock County has no laws governing exotic animals; however, Berdine said she is regulated by the state. She often receives routine visits from state inspectors.