In Pikeville, Kentucky, a viral video of a man striking and kicking a camel at a live nativity scene at the Pikeville Medical Center has led to a firestorm of criticism and outrage culminating in the cancellation of the display and a charge of animal cruelty for the man allegedly involved.
According to WymtNews, the person identified in the video is Joseph P. Price. The disturbing footage was posted on the Facebook page of Tiffany Sparks. Tiffany and her children were so so upset, she doubts she and her family will ever visit the hospital’s annual nativity scene again.
‘Never ever will I visit …. Those poor camels have been smacked, kicked choked by being pulled to the ground every time they try and stand up. My kids and I are absolutely heartbroken seeing them treat the camels this way. We didn’t even get the worse part recorded,” Tiffany stated.
Pikesville Police Department are continuing their investigation and has cited Price for second degree animal cruelty. Pikeville Medical Center CEO and President Walker E. May and COO Juanita Deskins expressed their concern about the safety of all the animals and cancelled the event. On their Facebook, the hospital issued the following statement:
“Pikeville Medical Center brings a live nativity to the community as a reminder of what Christmas is truly about.
PMC has been using 5 H ranch to furnish the animals for the live nativity for more than 20 years. It is our understanding this company furnishes animals for movies and other theatrical presentations. This company transports the animals in, they provide all of the care that is required for the animals. In the past we have never had any reason to question their exemplary care. In fact, we have specifically met detailed criteria stipulated by the company based solely on providing the appropriate environment for the animals’ benefit. So we were surprised to hear that concerns about the treatment of these animals have now been raised.
Of course, we take very seriously these concerns that are raised about the welfare of these animals. We have contacted the owners and told them we will not tolerate this kind of treatment of the animals. If this is the case then this is to cease immediately or we will cancel their contract if this occurred.
None of us here are experts in the care and handling of large animals but we do know that we want them to be treated humanely and want the live nativity to be a positive spiritual experience for everyone.”
Price has since been fired from his job at the 5H Ranch.
(Photo of man beating camel via freezeshot of video)
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Warning: Graphic video which may not be suitable for all viewing audiences. The disturbing video can be viewed here: