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ALDF: Moe the Chimp Escaped While Under Illegal Care

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Moe, the 42-year-old chimpanzee that escaped from Jungle Exotics in Devore over the weekend, was under the care of an animal trainer who was sued for animal cruelty and later barred from working with chimps in a December 2006 settlement, according to the Animal Legal Defense Fund.

In a letter received by LAist, ALDF representative Lisa Franzetta explained:

Moe was living at Jungle Exotics, which is the location of Amazing Animal Productions. Amazing Animal Productions is owned by an animal trainer named Sid Yost, who was sued by ALDF back in 2005 for repeatedly beating and abusing the chimpanzees he rented out for Hollywood appearances. According to the terms of the settlement in that lawsuit, reached in Dec. 2006, Yost’s chimpanzees would be sent to live in sanctuaries, and Yost is barred from ever again working with great apes (which includes chimpanzees) in any capacity. Thus, it is our understanding that Yost was in violation of our legal settlement, and that, as a tragic result, Moe’s substandard caretaking resulted in his escape.
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The ALDF and chimp-rights activist Sarah Baeckler (who went undercover as a "volunteer" for Yost in 2002) sued Yost again earlier this year alleging that he had been training chimpanzees in violation of the settlement. The ALDF had no idea that Yost was working with Moe at Jungle Exotics before reading news coverage of his escape, according to Franzetta.

Moe's owners, LaDonna and St. James Davis asked the public to help search for Moe (but not so approach him) and he is believed to be loose in the San Bernardino National Forest.

LAist's calls to Jungle Exotics and Amazing Animal Productions were not returned.

photo via's Monkey Business ad.