CJ the Chimp Escapes Into Neighborhood Again

A pet chimpanzee escaped from her enclosure for the second time in a month, prompting officials to remove her from her Las Vegas neighborhood home.

Animal Control officers used tranquilizer darts to sedate CJ the chimp, but they didn't return her to her owners. First, she was transported to a zoo, and then another private citizen offered to keep CJ in a cage designed for large cats, like lions or tigers, according to ABC Las Vegas affiliate KNTV.

"This looks like we're complete idiots," Timmi DeRosa, who owns the chimp, told KTNV. "Like how the hell could the other chimp get out?"

The first time CJ escaped her enclosure was in July, when she and fellow adult chimp Buddy roamed the neighborhood, banging on cars and terrorizing neighbors. When Buddy tried to leave the police perimeter and walk into a crowd of onlookers, Sgt. Andrew Legrow shot and killed him, according to a Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department press release. Legrow has been on the force for 27 years.

One 911 caller told police, "They are wandering down the street. They are dangerous. Bring shotguns. They are wild animals."

This time, officers knew what to do, and although CJ pulled out the tranquilizer dart, she walked into a vacant home with her handler and fell asleep without incident, according to KTNV.

DeRosa said she suspects someone else may have opened the cage because July's incident prompted a political discussion about banning exotic animals as pets.

"We have gotten calls that people want to let CJ out so they can pass the law in Las Vegas, and I just hope to God that nobody tampered with the cage," DeRosa told KTNV.

County commissioners altered their policy on exotic animal ownership on Aug. 7, adding a requirement that permits for wild animals be renewed, regular inspections of animal enclosures and better neighbor notification, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal. They also require that the property owner own the animal. DeRosa owns CJ, but the chimp was kept in an enclosure on property owned by Sheri and David Potochan.

Nevada state Sen. Michael Roberson is also drafting a statewide ban on exotic animals, according to KTNV.

Even before the escape this weekend, plans were already in the works to move CJ to a sanctuary in Oregon as a result of the July escape.

"Everything was planned," DeRosa told KTNV. "She was going to have her going away party."

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