County, chimpanzee owner close to accord

Posted on Thursday, June 20, 2013 at 12:23 pm

Four Hanover chimpanzees have a chance staying in the county until their departure to the Houston Zoo.

Four chimpanzees at a private zoo in Cold Harbor must find new homes. (Photo courtesy of Michael Elliott/Freedigitalphotos.net)

Four chimpanzees at a private zoo in Cold Harbor are close to finding a new home. (Photo courtesy of Michael Elliott/Freedigitalphotos.net)

Deputy County Administrator Jim Taylor said the county received a signed agreement on Wednesday, June 19 between chimp owner Curtis Shepperson, the county and the Houston Zoo. The Board of Supervisors will review the agreement at their June 26 meeting, Taylor said.

The chimps’ owner was originally obligated to find a new home for his unpermitted apes by June 23. However, the Houston Zoo, which agreed to take the four chimps plus Shepperson’s two county-permitted chimps, cannot take them until the end of the year.

Four of the six chimps do not have vicious animal permits, which the county requires for animals falling under the county’s definition of vicious.

Shepperson’s chimps are a part of his private zoo, Windy Oaks Animal Farm, where he also houses a kangaroo and a zebra.

The county first discovered Shepperson’s chimps in 2010 when one escaped. Shepperson was mandated to find homes for the unpermitted animals within two years and to increase security at Windy Oaks.

Shepperson was granted a six-month deadline extension to find new homes for the chimpanzees last December, which was extended again in May to June 23.

If the board approves the agreement next week, the chimps will be peacefully transferred to Houston in the fall, Taylor said.

 

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