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article imageNativity camel falls into audience at church

By Lynn Curwin     Dec 12, 2010 in World
West Palm Beach - A camel became a YouTube star and drew attention to an animal-rental business after falling into the audience during a rehearsal for a nativity pageant in Florida.
Lula Bell was rehearsing at First Baptist Church on Thursday evening when she appeared to have problems.
The thousand-pound animal, who had a rider on her back and was being led by a trainer, stopped and then toppled to her right into a seating area.
Neither Lula Bell, nor the “wise man” who had been seated on her back, were injured.
The Palm Beach Post reported that Pastor Chuck Lewis, who is the producer of the show, said that the camel’s right front knee had been bothering her.
The incident drew attention to the company that rented out Lula Bell, Animals in Motion.
Change.org reported that although Lewis had mentioned the camel having a problem with a knee, “Animals in Motion denied anything was wrong and didn't want to deal with the problem.”
According to the Palm Beach Post, when the owner of the company, Timothy Rivers was contacted by phone he denied that Lula Bell had any problems with her knee and said: I don't know what's going on. I don't want to know what's going on over there." He then hung up.
Animals in Motion supplies animals for events such as shows, parties and movies - including Evan Almighty.
At one time Rivers had been charged with cruelty for a high-diving mule act, but was not convicted.
In 2002, he was sentenced to six months in prison after pleading guilty to illegally selling two black leopards in 1998.
An article on Green Environment reported that he also admitted to falsifying documents to indicate the sale of the leopards was a "donation," as well as being involved in the illegal sale of an endangered Bengal tiger, and falsifying papers on that sale. The tiger was killed shortly after it was sold.
Rivers had been one of five people indicted following an undercover investigation by special agents of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service when they looked into an operation where exotic animals were killed for the animal parts trade.
The Animals in Motion website says the company specializes in “animal rentals and training for both exotic and domestic animals for motion pictures, television, special events, private parties such as birthdays, weddings and corporate parties and of course annual nativity scenes.”
It says the exotic animals available includes giraffes, zebras, camels, water buffalo, bison, kangaroo, elephant, monkeys, tortoises, kinkajou, snakes, parrots, ostrich and alligators.
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