The Little Rock Zoo

.The Little Rock Zoo needs to step up and care for the animals better! Please read the several artciles here with deaths, sickness and a bald chimp!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Judie Harrison Had A Change Of Heart


Judie Harrison of Pennsylvania contacted Mike Casey the night of the attack in Connecticut. He confirmed the chimp had met the same fate as his mother.

Harrison bought two chimps as infants from Chimparty and paid $45,000 cash for each one. She said her and her husband made the "heartbreaking decision" last October to give the primates to the Little Rock Zoo. The Harrisons spent $20,000 trying to build a habitat for Mikie, 7, and Louie, 5, but couldn't finish it. They went into foreclosure. They haven't spoken to their three children in years.

The children "felt as though they were second to chimps," Harrison said. "Our life is in shambles. We were afraid they would get out and hurt someone and get killed. We cry every day. But I had to put my feelings and wants aside. I woke up before it was too late."

April Truitt of Kentucky also is no longer a primates-as-pets supporter. Her now-husband bought a macaque in 1987, but they soon realized primates needed to live without owners' profiting from their performances or breeding, she said. She now is a primate expert who runs the nonprofit Primate Rescue Center Inc.

She said Missouri was one of the most unregulated states about the business of selling chimps, and put the total number of privately owned chimps at about 235 nationwide. About 30 reside in Missouri, she said.

"It's a common delusion to think that if you raise them they'll be nice to you," she said. "I look forward to day when facilities like mine won't be necessary. But as long as animals can move over state lines, or be bought or sold, there will still be need for facility like mine."

Missouri's Public Health Veterinarian, Dr. Howard Pue, said state health officials got involved only when a person was bitten or attacked by an animal, because the bite could spread disease.

"Exotic animals represent an ongoing problem in Missouri because they fall through the regulatory cracks," Pue said. "Many cities have local ordinances banning or restricting ownership of exotic animals. But the state has extremely limited authority to regulate the sale or purchase of these animals."


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