MECHANICSVILLE, Va. —
Hanover County supervisors have rejected a private zoo owner’s request to obtain permits for four chimpanzees in his backyard zoo.
The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports Windy Oaks Animal Farm owner Curtis W. Shepperson was told he could face criminal charges if he doesn’t get rid of the chimps by June 23.
Shepperson had been given more than two years to dispose of the chimps.
The county has documented at least two incidents of chimp escapes from the Mechanicsville property. Supervisor Elton J. Wade Sr. says since then, Shepperson has made significant improvements to stabilize the chimps’ caged facility.
But Supervisor G. Ed Via III says he’s unwilling to take a chance on residents’ safety.
Shepperson says he doesn’t want to give up two other chimps for which he has permits.