Chimp Haven leadership dispute ends; Chimp Haven appeals verdict favoring Primarily Primates
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, April 2008:
KEITHVILLE, La.–A lawsuit among the founders of the Chimp
Haven sanctuary for retired laboratory chimpanzees was on February
14, 2008 quietly dismissed by the Caddo District Court at request of
“According to court documents, Cathe Neukum, one of the
plaintiffs, appeared in court to say she no longer wishes to pursue
the claims,” reported Vickie Welborn of the Shreveport Times on
Neukum, Chimp Haven founding executive director Linda
Koebner, and six coplaintiffs including ex-board members and
volunteers sued founding president Linda Brent and board chair Tom
Butler in Nov-ember 1996 for alleged mismanagement. “The parties
reached a mutual agreement to dismiss the lawsuit,” plaintiffs’
attorney Julie Blewer told Welborn. Blewer did not offer details.
The settlement came to light after Chimp Haven appealed a
February 2008 order from Bexar County Judge Michael Peden to return
to Primarily Primates seven chimpanzees who were transferred to Chimp
Haven in November 2006. Primarily Primates was at the time in
Friends of Animals president Priscilla Feral told John Andrew
Prime of the Gennett news service that the Bexar County Court court
has ordered Chimp Haven to pay Primarily Primates’ attorneys’ fees
through every stage of the appeal.
The chimps are the survivors of a colony formerly kept at
Ohio State University. They were retired by OSU to Primarily
Primates in February 2006, with an endowment for their housing and
upkeep. PETA and researcher Sally Boysen opposed sending the chimps
to Primarily Primates.
Two chimps died from pre-existing heart conditions soon after
arrival at Primarily Primates.
PETA then funded an unsuccessful lawsuit that sought to move
the survivors to Chimp Haven, and forwarded allegations from two
former Primarily Primates employees –both fired for cause–to the
Texas Office of Attorney General, leading to the receivership. The
receivership ended in May 2007, after the Texas Office of Attorney
General agreed in an out-of-court settlement to “fully and completely
release, acquit, and forever discharge Primarily Primates” from the
Friends of Animals then completed a merger with Primarily
Primates, which had been pending, and now manages the sanctuary.
The U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals on January 16, 2008
upheld the transfer of the OSU chimps to Primarily Primates.