Kansas City Ape Owners Must Pay for Rampage, Judge Rules

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After a two-day trial featuring "contentious testimony" by 11 witnesses, a Kansas City judge has ruled that the owners of a chimpanzee that went apeshit last year must pay to fix the police car she damaged.

As I mentioned at the time, Suco the Chimp got loose one day last October and briefly rampaged around the neighborhood, eventually smashing the windshield of a police car after dragging a trash can over to use as a step. All this was captured by the cruiser's video camera and is some fairly comical footage. The chimp's owners were cited for "keeping or harboring" said chimp within city limits, and I guess whether they had kept or harbored her was what the trial was mostly about.

The defendants, who are over-the-road truckers, apparently kept Suco in a cage inside their truck, and seem to have argued that they were only in town briefly to pick up a few things and so were not "keeping or harboring" the chimp in the city. That is a better legal argument than you might expect from two people who spend their lives driving around the country with an ape, but the judge didn't buy it. He agreed with prosecutors, who argued the law is meant to keep apes out, period.

According to the report, the trial also involved testimony about whether Suco's owners have treated her well, apparently because the city is contending she is too dangerous to be out and about. "That's ridiculous," one of the owners testified in response to the allegations of mistreatment. "This animal is well cared for. She's like a jewel to us. She does not get out of the truck without supervision," he insisted, despite the video showing her not only out of the truck but attacking a police car. Or was she under your supervision at the time?

The judge fined the defendants $750, and ordered them to pay $1,500 for the damage to the police car. Suco remains in protective custody at the zoo.