Humane Society of the U.S. issues statement on chimp escape

Krista Hostetler

Humane Society of the U.S. issues statement on chimp escape

CREATED Aug. 12, 2012

Holly Haley, The Humane Society of the United States’ Nevada state director, is issuing the following statement in response to yesterday’s escape of CJ, a chimpanzee whose companion Buddy was shot and killed on July 12 when both broke out of a poorly secured backyard cage in a northwest Las Vegas residential area and ran amok:

“The same chimpanzee escaping twice in less than a month underscores that large, powerful exotic animals should not be kept as pets. Nevada is one of just six states with no rules on the private ownership of dangerous wild animals, and it’s a free-for-all that puts people and animals at risk. It’s sheer luck that no citizens or tourists were harmed during the two recent chimp escapes, and it’s a wake-up call that both Clark County and the state of Nevada need strong policies on the books.

These situations present a serious public safety risk, and there are never good outcomes for the animals involved. Senator Michael Roberson, R-Clark County, is leading the effort to protect public safety and animal welfare and turn this situation around. He is working to draft a bill for the 2013 legislative session that would prohibit future private ownership of dangerous, wild animals. Nevada legislators must act with great haste to prevent future tragedies.” 

While it appears that no humans were harmed in this second escape, the risk of keeping primates as pets has been illustrated time and time again, including the 2009 attack by a pet chimpanzee who inflicted catastrophic and disfiguring injuries on a Connecticut woman. Taxpayers will likely foot the bill for the massive police responses needed to protect public safety when these powerful, dangerous animals escape.