On the surface, owning a pet chimpanzee seems remarkably appealing; movies tell us they're cute, fun, entertaining, and just like us. Yes, we share around 99% of our DNA with them, but there's one key difference between our two species: grown chimpanzees have the strength of several adult humans. So, in reality, they can be remarkably scary and dangerous animals to keep as pets. No, chimpanzees are not like human children. Though they may be docile at a very young age, they usually grow up to become aggressive wild animals.
Never mind that it's illegal to keep chimps as pets in most of the US, it's also incredibly foolish. Pet chimpanzees often attack their owners or other people they encounter. And the injuries are nothing like the dog-bite attacks you occasionally see. Chimp attacks are horrifying, tragic, and downright shocking. When pet chimps attack humans, it's something worse than your worst nightmare.
Timmy The Chimpanzee Attacked A Police Officer
In 2009, a 9-year-old chimp named Timmy allegedly tried attacking a police officer in Winston, MO. Timmy broke free from his cage in his owner's backyard. He roamed the neighborhood and was eventually approached by police. Timmy reportedly tried opening their squad car door and grabbed an officers before being shot.
Though Timmy's life came to an unfortunate end, the incident led to a larger bust. When police investigated the home of Timmy's owners, they discovered an illegal puppy mill with about 100 to 200 small-breed dogs as well as three other primates. The three residents were arrested and charged with multiple animal abuse charges.
In Montana, Connor The Chimp Bit A Woman
Jeanne Rizzotto, a real estate agent and resident of Carbon County, MT, raised two chimpanzees from birth. Rizzotto treated them like they were her own kids. The chimps - Connor and Kramer, both about 6 years old at the time of the incident - lived in Rizzotto's home; they had their own beds and a set of pajamas.
Allegedly, a group of vandals approached Rizzotto's residence one evening in 2008, breaking the locks to the chimps' cages and setting them free. One chimp was rescued by Rizzotto's son, but the other wasn't as lucky - he attacked a woman. Though she wasn't badly injured, she later underwent a series of tests, as chimp bites can transmit diseases like herpes and rabies.
Rizzotto reportedly sent Connor and Kramer to Save the Chimps, an animal sanctuary in Fort Pierce, Florida after the incident.
Annie Butor's Family Was Tyranized By Their Chimp, Pépée
In thr 1960s, famous French singer Leo Ferré owned a pet chimpanzee Pépée whom Ferré even wrote a song about. But before the Ferré family took Pépée home to their chateau, Pépées's trainer warned, "I divorced three times because of my chimpanzees, be careful!" The warning turned out to be justified. Annie Butor, the daughter of the family, later wrote a memoir about the experience of living with the primate:
Pépée had her own bedroom, her toys, she dined with us, took siestas, drove the car on Léo's lap. In the evening, before slipping on her pyjamas, she would politely drink her infusion before hugging us tenderly and very tight.
Pépée was described as a tyrant who removed guests of their clothes and valuables, bit those who upset him, and even took someone's baby onto the roof.
The pet chimp went on to severely bite many of the family's employees, who then quit en masse. Soon afterward, Anna and her father left the family chateau, saying the animal had made life unbearable.