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L.A. County Names Camel As Deputy

April 7, 2003

SAN DIMAS, Calif. (AP) _ He’s been on the job for a while, but it became official last week: Bert the camel is now a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputy.

Bert, who weighs in at 1,700 pounds, got his sheriff’s ID card after a swearing-in ceremony Saturday during a festival in this city 30 miles east of downtown Los Angeles.

Bert is a member of the Sheriff’s Posse in San Dimas and visits area schools as part of a presentation on California history, said Nancy Fite, a member of the Sheriff’s Posse and Bert’s handler.

``He’s very intelligent,″ Fite said.

In California, Bert’s ancestors were once part of the U.S. garrison at Fort Tejon, which operated between 1854 and 1864, about 77 miles north of Los Angeles.

Bert joins other members of the sheriff’s four-footed force that also includes dogs and horses.

Bert, not quite full grown at 6, was joined at the swearing in by two other reservists, Muffin and Brougan, a pair of 100-pound-plus bull mastiffs. Like Bert, the two dogs are not crime fighters, but public relations representatives.

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