Protesters want chimps out of neighborhood, owner says there's nothing to fear
Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) -- Animal advocates clashed with Mike Casey, the owner of four chimps who are living at a home in a residential neighborhood on Robindale, east of Decatur.
"These are dangerous wild animals and they don't belong in a residential neighborhood where kids play and people sit in their backyard," animal advocate, Linda Faso, said.
Faso is leading the protest and told neighbors to be aware. She's afraid if the chimps get out it could be like CJ and Buddy the two chimps that escaped their enclosure. Buddy was shot and killed.
"We all remember him laying dead in the street," Faso said.
But Casey insists his cages are safe
"They have big enclosures," Casey said. He operates the "Great Ape Experience." Casey's four chimps, the largest weighing 65 lbs., are sent to parties for human handling.
"They are very loving," Casey said. "I think if you saw them you would say gosh that chimp really loves that guy."
Casey said his chimps are like family and that's why he's put in the paperwork to zone the property for the chimps.
"If you stand here you would have no idea there are chimps in that backyard," County Commissioner, Steve Sisolak, said. "They are behind the trees and the wall and you can't see any chimps."
For now, Casey can keep the chimps where they are, but advocated said neighbors should decide if they want exotic animals next door.
"There are a lot of other dangers that are more dangerous than some chimps," resident Todd Noll said.
"There is no secrecy here I've been here and my chimps don't make a lot of noise," Casey added.
On November 21st there will be a public hearing for residents to voice their concerns. Casey is allowed to keep the chimps on the property until the county reviews his zoning permit.
Sisolak said animal control deemed the cages safe, but there is another problem - Casey doesn't have a business permit to operate the "Great Ape Experience." He said he will work on that next.