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Live Nativity ends after camel handler charged with cruelty

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PIKEVILLE, Ky. (AP) – An eastern Kentucky hospital has canceled its live Nativity display after a camel handler was accused of animal cruelty.

The Lexington Herald-Leader reports the display was supposed to run through Friday at Pikeville Medical Center but was canceled Tuesday. That action was taken after a woman posted a video on Facebook showing a man shoving a camel, apparently to get it to lie down, then punching the animal in the head.

Pikeville police said Joseph P. Price of Jackson, Missouri, an employee of 5H Ranch, was cited on a charge of second-degree animal cruelty. The hospital said 5H Ranch owner Maxine Hale fired Price after hospital representatives expressed concern.

Hospital spokeswoman Laura Damron said the hospital had hired 5H to provide animals for the display for more than 20 years and never had reason to question the animals’ care.
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Information from: Lexington Herald-Leader, http://www.kentucky.com