PALMDALE (CBSLA.com) — A Palmdale man is lucky to be alive after a nasty and unprovoked attack by a camel on Friday morning.
"He started tossing me around like a doll rag, around in circles," said Steve Brefka.
The 71-year-old victim told CBS2's Art Barron that the Friday attack left his shaken, bruised and worried he could die.
After the camel pinned him down, it started to also kick him. At one point, Brefka told Barron his head was entirely in the camel's mouth. Brefka showed off a myriad of bumps, bruises, scars and stitches. He also has staples in his head, an injured spine and leg.
"The doctor put it to me this way, he said, 'You're the first person I've seen that has survived a camel attack. Usually when a camel attacks, it is fatal,'" said Brefka.
The victim enjoys horseback riding but he also said his doctor told him it will be several months before he can safely resume riding.
The camel escaped from an exotic animal ranch down the road from Brefka's house around 8:30 a.m. The ranch has the aforementioned camel, a large ostrich, a zebra, among other animals.
Brefka believes the animals are used in film productions but thus far, authorities said the camel's owner has not yet come forward.
At least two of Brefka's neighbors witnessed the attack.
One woman told Barron that, "You are very helpless when you have a 2,000 pound animal attacking someone. Steve was able to grab the camel's eye, which stunned him for a second. It gave my roommate time to pull Steve out from under the camel."
The camel has been taken to Animal Care and Control in Lancaster.
Steve says he is concerned about the camel and other exotic animals because kids often walk in the neighborhood to and from school.
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