Mauling victim wants to be with his chimp
POMONA (AP) – A man badly mauled by chimpanzees while visiting his pet must find a mediator if he wants Moe the chimp to live near him again, a judge said.
Superior Court Judge Abraham Kahn ordered St. James Davis; his wife, LaDonna; and the city of West Covina to seek mediation over a stalled lawsuit settlement they reached four years ago. He also ordered both sides back to court in July.
In the meantime, Kahn urged the Davises to take down the “Free Moe” signs they’ve placed in front of their home.
Outside court Tuesday, Davis said he has not seen the pet he calls his “son” since his mauling last year. “I would heal a lot better if we could be together again,” he said. “I miss him with all my heart.”
Two male chimps escaped from their cages and attacked Davis while he was celebrating Moe’s birthday at a Kern County sanctuary in March 2005. They chewed or tore off his testicles, part of his face, most of his fingers and part of his left foot before a sanctuary worker shot them to death. His wife lost a thumb in the attack.
Moe, who was not involved in the mauling, had lived with the Davises from 1960 until 1999 when West Covina officials removed him after he bit a woman. The Davises filed a civil rights lawsuit that was settled in 2002 with the city paying them $100,000 and agreeing to pay $225,000 to buy a home in neighboring Baldwin Park where Moe could live, Davis attorney Ernest Algorri said.
That part of the deal fell apart when Baldwin Park officials refused to let the 130-pound, immensely strong chimp into their city. The judge said rising real estate prices make it impossible now to buy a house for Moe at the agreed-upon price. He suggested both sides consult real estate experts.
West Covina City Attorney Arnold Alvarez-Glasman said the city wants a conclusion to the case and has “been very compassionate in trying to solve this very delicate problem.”
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