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NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Six weeks before a 200-pound chimpanzee nearly mauled a woman to death, state officials were cracking down on the owner of a 14-pound siamang that was still wearing diapers made for infants.
Pierce Onthank, the president of an oil and gas company, was charged in January with illegal possession of a primate for keeping a siamang, a type of gibbon that is native to rain forests in Malaysia and Indonesia and can weigh up to 30 pounds and stand 3 feet high.
The Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection says he never had the required permit.
The owner of Travis, the chimpanzee who mauled the woman, also did not have a permit. But Travis was allowed to go unmonitored, while the owner of Koby the siamang gibbon is facing a court hearing and possible fine.
"I'm very disturbed," said state Rep. Diana Urban, D-North Stonington. "It simply points out to me why we need to have definitive legislation on this issue."
The mauling triggered Congress and state officials to consider strengthening laws against keeping exotic animals. A bill proposed by Attorney General Richard Blumenthal and Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Gina McCarthy would impose penalties of up to one year in prison and a $2,000 fine.
"If a statute lacks any standards or guidelines for determining what should be permitted, enforcement may look like it's very selective and even arbitrary," Blumenthal said. "These arbitrary and capricious outcomes demonstrate why we need a complete ban on possession of any wild, potentially dangerous animal."
New American Standard Bible (©1995)
Then when Herod saw that he had been tricked by the magi, he became very enraged, and sent and slew all the male children who were in Bethlehem and all its vicinity, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had determined from the magi.