County allows chimps to stay in Hanover until relocation
Six chimpanzees will be heading to the Houston Zoo at the end of the year.
The Hanover Board of Supervisors will allow six chimpanzees to stay in the county until their relocation. (Photo courtesy of Michael Elliott/Freedigitalphotos.net)
The Hanover Board of Supervisors approved an agreement between the county, chimp owner Curtis Shepperson and the zoo allowing the chimps to remain in Hanover until they travel to their new home in Texas.
The county will not charge Shepperson for any violations.
Some supervisors expressed their thoughts on the situation and the chimps’ departure.
“It was a painful decision for Shepperson,” said Chickahominy District supervisor Angela Kelly-Wiecek.
South Anna District supervisor Wayne Hazzard said he is “excited for the chimps and thinks they’ll be smiling [once they arrive in Texas].”
Shepperson 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, could not 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.
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.
Currently, the Houston Zoo is preparing to welcome this new batch of chimps to their spacious habitat.
“It’ll be a natural place for them. We’ll have a safer county and the chimps will be much happier,” said chairman W. Canova Peterson, Mechanicsville District supervisor.