The search is on for Moe, who opened his cage and left his home at Jungle Exotics, not the first time he’s escaped his surroundings. Moe is perhaps the most litigious chimpanzee in history, thanks to the efforts of Gloria Allred, who put the city of West Covina through years of litigation when they dared to suggest that a chimp who had mauled a policeman (who incurred $250,000 in medical bills) and bit off a woman’s fingertip was not appropriately kept within a residential area in city limits. Moe’s former owner, St. James Davis, was himself brutally attacked by a couple of chimpanzees that apparently didn’t have a lawyer handy and were shot in the aftermath of the incident without so much as a habeas corpus petition filed. (Davis “lost his nose, an eye, most of his fingers, both testicles and much of the flesh from his buttocks and face and left foot.” His wife just lost a thumb in the attack.)
In recent years, the Davises brought a new lawsuit against West Covina over their original bullied settlement, and West Covina taxpayers were required to pay them another $32,000 plus $300/month “chimp support” for Moe, with the right to return to court to ask for an increase in support payments. (CBS2, Jan. 26, 2007).
We never did get around to mentioning a May 2005 Washington Post piece on the St. James Davis & Moe story.
And if you’re one of the hundreds of people here because you’re curiously googling for St. James Davis, here’s a Flickr picture of the now-noseless and lipless Davis returning home after the 2005 attack. But do come back for the discussion of lawsuits.