Chimp Haven sued but denies the claims, of course

A commenter by the handle, DAB, made me very aware of Chimp Haven’s mismanagement details when I was praising them on their AAALAC accreditation achievement. And it seems like now mismanagement problems DAB eluded to have now become official enough to sue Chimp Haven over.

Here are some of the details of the suit being charged against the organization that I got from here, “Chimp Haven directors sued; group claims mismanagement,”

“A group of donors and supporters of Chimp Haven Inc., in Keithville have filed suit accusing the institution’s directors of mismanaging the facility.

Virginia K. Shehee, Mary Jansen, Tim and Sarah Goeders, Linda Koebner and others have asked the court for an injunction against the directors of the nonprofit residence for chimpanzees formerly used for research.

Director and President Linda Brent and director and Chairman of the Board Tom Butler are directly named in the suit.

The plaintiffs believe the defendants “have mismanaged the Chimp Haven Project in Caddo Parish in violation of that corporation’s purpose, to the detriment of the animals residing at Chimp Haven and to the detriment of fundraising and additional grant opportunities on which Chimp Haven must rely on to survive,” according to the suit filed recently.”

Of course the organization is denying the claims, as the organization opened its doors to a news team “in response to a lawsuit from some donors and supporters claiming mismanagement and poor care.” While, I know the best interests of the chimpanzees are at stake, I am a bit concerned how the death of a chimp named Woodruff who died of a heart attack while placed with three aggressive males, will be used as corroborative evidence for mismanagement. It may have been the directors decision, but a heart attack can be stress induced, genetic, or diet/excercise related. For an animal in capitivity, a combination of these three had a play in his untimely death.

I also wonder about how great apes will now play are role in our law system. Are we seeing people now begin to punish caregivers of great apes because we are seeing them as being more human?

3 thoughts on “Chimp Haven sued but denies the claims, of course

  1. Regarding the death of Woodruff, obesity was the primary factor. He was dangerously obese when he arrived at Chimp Haven. However, during the 16 months that he lived there, the management dismissed several suggestions by staff to control the amount of food the chimps were given. So Woodruff did not lose any weight, and may have even gained weight, despite the fact that he was already a high risk for heart attack. In 16 months, he could have lost weight if the management had decided to make it happen.

    In addition to his obesity, Woodruff was partially paralyzed due to a botched experiment years ago in a lab. Because of his physical condition, he would have been unable to escape from an attack by another chimp, yet shortly before his death he was placed in a group with three aggressive males. The law suit suggests that his heart attack may have been brought on by an attack from one of these males. The autopsy report should shed more light on that. In any case, it didn’t make sense to place a disabled chimp in a hostile environment.

    Woodruff was a good guy who needed special care. But one of Chimp Haven’s biggest flaws is the management’s lack of attention with special needs chimps. The chimps there that don’t fit in anywhere often end up in bad circumstances.

  2. I just thought that perhaps an update would be appropriate on this comment.
    All lawsuits except the one about bringing back the Keithville Crewe have been dropped against Chimp Haven. I think that says a lot about what they were based on and the validity of the claims. I know that everyone is passionate about the chimps and wants the best for them but I do believe that sometimes the human ego gets a little out of control and obviously it has in some of these situations. If there was really something wrong and someone felt passionately about it, why would you persue it for years in the legal system only to let it go? Perhaps it just takes some time for people to get over themselves, let go of anger for not being in control or getting their way. I do wish that they would find a more private way to do it. Because filing a lawsuit does nothing good for the organization and wastes thier money on legal fees rather than enrichment for the chimps. It’s good to be passionate about animals but it’s useless to try to join forces to grind a personal agenda. I would have more respect for those people if they followed through on their allegations, even if they were false. But to just let them go only means that it was personal and not about the chimps in the first place.

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