PETA urges county to deny chimp owner's permit

Victoria Spilabotte

PETA urges county to deny chimp owner's permit

CREATED Nov. 14, 2012

Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) -- Local PETA members are urging the County Commission to deny a permit for a local man to keep his chimps on a residential property.

"There are a lot of people really really interested," County Commissioner Steve Sisolak, said.

PETA is now joining forces with other local animal advocates who've asked commissioners to deny chimp owner Mike Casey a special use permit. Casey wants to house chimps in the backyard of this Southwest Las Vegas home. PETA claims it's a safety concern.

"Housing these animals in such a densely populated area would make them much more difficult to contain if they did escape," PETA Foundation attorney Carney Anne Chester, said. 

Chester prepared a packet for the commission's review. It alleges past violations from the USDA against Casey, including allegations that he abuses his chimps.

"He's reportedly physically abused chimpanzees with his fist and by dousing them with scalding water," Chester said.

Casey said he hasn't seen the PETA allegations and he said he loves his chimps like family. 

Casey invited Action News to meet the chimps without a camera. The chimps were housed in cages with locks and room to roam. The animals were also playing with toys.

Casey's chimps are entertainers with the Great Ape Experience. The county said after having the chimps on the property for a few years, Casey recently applied for the zoning permit.

"He's been skirting the law and the time has come for the county to do the right thing and deny this request," Chester said. 

"Las Vegas is a unique community where so many of these animals are used in strip performances and that's something we have to take into account," Sisolak said. "Where would it be appropriate for these type of animals to be housed?"

Casey is inviting anyone who lives in the area to call him with questions, here is the link to his website.