Hanover order may force man to split up chimpanzees family - NBC12 - Richmond, VA News

Hanover order may force man to split up chimpanzees family

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HANOVER, VA (WWBT) -

A Hanover man may have to split up a family of six chimpanzees, after the County refused to grant him a permit to keep more than two on his property.

Right now, there are six chimps living at the Windy Oaks animal farm in Mechanicsville. However, their owner only has permits for two of them. Curtis Shepperson says he's gone above and beyond to keep the chimps and the area residents safe, but county officials say that's not enough.

"Do you have children? What would happen if you lost your children?" asked Shepperson.

The decision to deny the chimps a permanent home in Hanover County came down to an issue about public safety. Members of the board touched on the possibility of human error and said, even with all the upgrades and improvements, they can't get over the fact that in 2010, two of them escaped for a day.

Since then, the County has ordered the four chimps without permits to move out.

"The truth of the matter is, we have been working to relocate all six of the chimpanzees for two-and-a-half years," said caretaker, Taylor Rickard-Sams.

Finding homes for all six has been difficult and wildlife experts all agree the chimps should never be separated from their family.

So now, with no permits the Sheppersons have until June 23 to find these chimpanzees a new home.

A county official said that euthanasia is not likely going to be an option.

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