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Connecticut agency unknowing contributor to chimpanzee attack tragedy

Published 02/20/09

The CT Department of Environmental Protection allowed a Stamford couple to keep a 200-pound chimpanzee without a permit, despite a 2004 state law that required they apply for and obtain the necessary approvals from the agency. On Monday, Travis, a 14-year-old chimpanzee, savagely attacked a family friend, who remained in critical condition Tuesday in Stamford Hospital. A DEP spokesman said the agency granted the couple a special exemption, noting that the DEP "had no compelling evidence there was a public safety risk," he said. "We had no reports there were issues." Born Free USA, a national nonprofit animal advocacy group, in a statement Tuesday, noted that Travis made headlines in 2003 for briefly escaping from his owners in downtown Stamford. Born Free Senior Vice President Nicole Paquette called on Gov. M. Jodi Rell to ban the keeping of primates as pets in Connecticut.

DEP let couple keep chimp without required permit
Brian Lockhart
The Stamford Advocate

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