Public to weigh in on if Hanover man can keep chimpanzees - NBC12 - Richmond, VA News

Public to weigh in on if Hanover man can keep chimpanzees

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HANOVER, VA (WWBT) -

A Hanover man is fighting the county to keep his six chimpanzee's, and now the county is allowing the public to weigh in on this decision.

The county wants four of his six chimpanzees, gone. Their owner, Curtis Shepperson says all of his state and federal permits are in order. Although Windy Oaks Animal Sanctuary has its federal and Virginia permits in order, Hanover County has only approved two, not six, chimpanzees.

Shepperson says the six are a family, and cannot be split up. He rescued one from a Hollywood trainer, and three that were abandoned.

Supervisors there say it's too dangerous to have six chimpanzees in private hands. There have been two documented cases of the animals escaping, and there have been cases where primates have mauled people. What immediately comes to mind is the Connecticut woman in 2009 who was blinded, lost both hands, and underwent a face transplant.

Shepperson has had two years to find a sanctuary for four of his animals, but he's told supervisors surrounding shelters are all full.

So, at 2 p.m. Wednesday, there will be a public hearing at the Hanover County Administration Building. The public will be able to weigh in on whether his local permit could be expanded to six, or if a discussion on euthanizing four chimpanzee, which was considered a last resort, could move forward. 

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