Wednesday, July 25 2012 12:57 PM EDT2012-07-25 16:57:36 GMT
LAS VEGAS -- The story of Buddy the chimpanzee's death is a sad one, but one with no discernible bad guys. At every step of their lives, Buddy and his chimp pal CJ were adored, even spoiled, by humansMore>>
The story of Buddy the chimpanzee's death is a sad one, but one with no discernible bad guys.More>>
LAS VEGAS -- The owner of the property where chimpanzees are believed to be housed is seeking a permit from Clark County to allow the apes to stay at the Las Vegas residence.
His chimps have a history of escaping, and in one case, mutilated a woman's face.
Other chimpanzees living in valley neighborhoods have also come under scrutiny this year after two escapes in northwest Las Vegas, one of which resulted in the shooting death of a chimp named Buddy.
Animal rights activist Linda Faso said chimps have been raised secretly in the neighborhood without a permit.
The home where James "Mike" Casey lives looks like many other homes along Robindale, but in the back of a 2.1-acre property, cages sit empty.
Also in the backyard is a recreational vehicle that has drawn the attention of community activists.
Clark County Commissioner Steve Sisolak said the property where Casey lives was previously licensed to house lions, tigers, cougars and other big cats. He said that despite not holding a business license, he appears to be using the animals for business purposes.
"They bring these animals, the chimps to various parties, and put them on display and charges for that service," Sisolak said.
Casey owns the RV, and according to federal inspection records, stores multiple chimpanzees inside of it.
They can be rented for children's parties in Las Vegas under the business name "A Great Ape Experience."
"He's using this baby, Bentley because he's very young and he's making money," Faso said. That's his prerogative.
She said Casey has a U.S. Department of Agriculture license and has bred chimpanzees for years.
In 2009, a chimp born at Casey's Missouri ranch mutilated a woman's face, nearly killing her.
In 2001, another chimp owned by Casey escaped and was shot dead.
There have been no known incidents with Casey's chimps in Nevada.
However, with the recent memory of Buddy the chimp's death in an unrelated escape this July still fresh, Faso is reaching out to neighbors.
"This is strictly a public safety issue," she said. "It has nothing to do with interfering with his business or telling him what to do. He can do what he wants to do. He's legal by USDA. But he needs to have those animals somewhere they can be safely secured and not close to a neighborhood, in case they get loose."
The chimps are about to get a lot more neighbors with several homes under construction just next door.
When the I-Team visited the house, owner Stacy A. Jones said Casey was not available.
The Clark County Commission is expected to decide Nov. 20 whether to allow Casey's chimps to stay.
Jones, the property owner, is listed as the applicant seeking permission to keep four chimpanzees and a capuchin monkey on the property. The Enterprise Town Advisory Board is expected to hear the issue at 6 p.m. Oct. 31 at 25 E. Shelbourne Ave. at Las Vegas Boulevard S.
"He's not licensed to have any chimps on the property (and) there's a question regarding Animal Control regarding the housing and safety of it," Sisolak said. "What he has now inside the fence structure, he has an RV that he's put in there. He has cages inside the RV that the chimps apparently go in the RV and go in a cage -- which isn't an acceptable way."
The I-Team attempted to reach out to Casey again by phone Thursday, but he could not be reached for comment.
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