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For Immediate Release: 06/04/09

CT exotics laws tightened after chimpanzee mauling

Governor urged to sign legislation

Hartford, CT — Born Free USA, a national non-profit animal advocacy organization, today congratulated Connecticut legislators on tightening exotic animal ownership restrictions to include Great apes. Born Free USA has been working with legislators since February 2009, when a woman was critically mauled by a friend’s chimpanzee. The chimpanzee, named Travis, was stabbed several times by his owner and finally shot to death by police.

“Connecticut already prohibits the keeping of wild cats, bears, wolves, coyotes, and other wild canids as personal pets,” said Nicole G. Paquette, Esq., senior vice president of Born Free USA. “Although we would have liked to see all nonhuman primates included in the legislation, this is a step in the right direction and we urge the Governor to sign the legislation.”

In addition, the legislation requires the Department of Environmental Protection to adopt regulations setting forth what additional animals may be imported, possessed, or introduced into the state. This may allow additional dangerous animals to be regulated by the state.

“We are ready to work with the Department of Environmental Protection on their mandate to adopt regulations,” added Paquette. “These regulations could lead to greater protections for the people of Connecticut and improve the welfare of these animals.”

At the federal level, H.R. 80, the Captive Primate Safety Act, of which Born Free USA is a leading supporter, would ban the interstate commerce in Great apes, monkeys, and other primates for the pet trade. It would complement Connecticut’s law on the possession of dangerous wild animals, since many of these animals are purchased over the Internet and through other interstate instruments. The Captive Primate Safety Act passed the U.S. House of Representatives in February and was approved by the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works on May 14. It is now pending in the full Senate.

The Born Free USA Primate Sanctuary near San Antonio, Texas, is home to more than 500 macaques, baboons, and vervets, many of whom came from deplorable conditions or inappropriate private homes or businesses. The Born Free USA Primate Sanctuary is one of the very few in the U.S. that provides large, free-ranging, natural enclosures. The Sanctuary features 186 acres of dense vegetation with several ponds. The majority of monkeys live freely in these enclosures with minimum human interference. Members of the public are urged to support the Sanctuary’s work and “adopt” a monkey at www.bornfreeusa.org/sanctuary.

Born Free USA is a national non-profit animal welfare and conservation organization and nationally recognized leader on exotic animal legislation. More information can be found at www.bornfreeusa.org.

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Contact:
Zibby Wilder, Born Free USA, press@bornfreeusa.org

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