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Escaped chimps' former veterinarian warns of their danger

Krista Hostetler

Escaped chimps' former veterinarian warns of their danger

By Krista Hostetler. CREATED Jul 12, 2012

Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) -- As questions surround how two chimpanzees escaped from their owners' care, a local veterinarian discussed what the animals are really capable of.

Dr. Toby Goldman used to treat the two chimps, up until about two years ago.

He told Action News these animals are unpredictable and should not be kept as pets.

He says they are very strong and can become agitated very easily; basically they can snap in a second.

Dr. Goldman strongly advises against keeping wild animals in homes.

"These are very dangerous animals. They're much stronger than humans. These animals can hurt people and property. So you need to treat them with respect. There's no going up to the chimp and talking it back into the cage," explained Dr. Goldman.

He said there's only a handful of chimps being kept in the Valley as pets.

If you do keep a chimp, there are strict guidelines put in place by the USDA under the Animal Welfare Act.

And animal control inspects often to make sure all the rules are being followed.

There are 27 locations in Clark County, including the one involved in this case, approved for exotic animals.

Krista Hostetler

Krista Hostetler

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Krista Hostetler is currently the Senior Web Editor for ktnv.com and KTNV Mobile.