UPDATE: Hanover owner of chimpanzees denied permits

Posted at 1:52 PM, May 08, 2013
and last updated 2013-05-09 00:42:55-04

HANOVER COUNTY, Va. (WTVR) -Curtis Shepperson says the Hanover Board of Supervisors ruled by a vote of 6-1 Wednesday night to deny him four new vicious animal permits.

That means  he has six weeks to say goodbye to four of his six chimps.  He says that's like being forced to get rid of your children.

The purpose of Wednesday’s public hearing session was to determine whether or not the board would grant the long-time Hanover resident permits for four chimps he acquired without the county’s permission, now living on his Windy Oaks property.

Shepperson lives on a private farm near Mechanicsville . He has had a permit for two of his chimpanzees for more than a decade.

In 2010, the chimps got out of their cage, but were safely recaptured by animal control.

During that process, officials found four more chimpanzees on Shepperson's property. Those animals were not registered with the county. Wednesday night the Hanover County Board of Supervisors will hold a public hearing on the matter.

After the 2010 escape, the Hanover County Board of Supervisors ordered Shepperson to make improvements to his chimpanzee habitat to strength it, which he completed.

They also gave him two years to find a new home for his four unregistered chimpanzees.  The deadline was supposed to be Dec. 23, but Shepperson petitioned the board for a one year extension.  They granted him six months.

“There’s just no place for them.  All the facilities that house chimpanzees are full,” Shepperson said at the time. “The county says if I don’t get rid of them within six months now, they’re going to euthanize them.”

Shepperson is retired and currently lives on social security benefits. If he fails to get authorization for his extra chimpanzees he will face a fine for each day he's in violation.