Chimp shot and killed in Las Vegas neighborhood - FOX 13 News

Chimp shot and killed in Las Vegas neighborhood

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TAMPA (FOX 13) -

There were some scary moments for people in a Las Vegas neighborhood. Two dangerous chimpanzees escaped from a home and police said they had no choice but to kill one of the chips and tranquilize the other.

When you consider a chimp, even one that's fairly young, has the strength of about eight grown men, it's not something you want to play around with.

"I was amazed to see the chimp. so I'm like, wow, you know?," said Greata Horne, an eyewitness.

And not one, but there were two chimps that somehow got loose from and police said, were attacking cars in the northwest part of the city.

"We had calls from citizens advising that the animals were on top of one citizens car and she was trapped inside," said Marcus Martin, Public Information Officer with the City Of Las Vegas. "We have citizens detailing that one of the chimps was pounding on a black and white a police vehicle."

Neighbors told police they were afraid, describing the animals as being agitated.

"I went to take my dogs out and my dogs came running back to the door. and I was like that's odd and I walked out and there were monkeys tearing leaves off my tree and you know and I was like that's crazy!," said Hannah Stevens, who shooed the errant chimps out of her backyard.

Las Vegas Police said they had no choice but to kill one chimpanzee, which aggressively approached officers and bystanders.

"I'd like to stress that every hope and every intent was made to take the first animal safely into custody it just didn't work out that way," said Martin.

Animal control tranquilized the other. The chimps were extremely large, weighing an estimated 170 pounds or more!

"A 95-pound chimp can pull 850 pounds in one arm and when they're mad, 1,250," said Debbie Cobb, who is the Outreach Coordinator at the Suncoast Primate Sanctuary Foundation, Inc. in Palm Harbor.

She and dozens of other volunteers have been caring for chimps, orangutans, monkeys and all sorts of other wildlife there for years.  She said, chimps are very territorial, so it was no surprise they would try to take someone on.

"Well, why would you want to walk up to someone's dog that you don't know?," said Cobb. "It's the same principle."

"Good boy! What a beautiful boy!," Cobb said to Pongo the orangutan, who is fairly new to the Sanctuary.

He knows her voice and her face and so do most of the animals there.  It's a trust relationship, which can take years to develop.

We could hear Pongo make a low, rumbling, almost cooing sound.  Cobb said that is the sound he makes when he's happy.

"Yay! You're a good boy!," she said to another chimp, named Harry, who was grinning and showing a full set of, what looked like, very sharp teeth.

Would you want to come face to face with those, if he didn't know you?

"Hear him laughing?," Cobb said, as she tickled the toes of another chimp, named Bob.

It looked like fun and games, but only when handled by a pro.

"Animals that are out on the loose and when people have to take action, the number one concern is safety for the public," said Cobb.

An investigation is ongoing as to whether the resident had a license to keep the chimps. Cobb said, 99 percent of the time, human error is the reason animals escape, and in this case, one had to be put down.

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