Moe the chimpanzee escapes; St. James Davis v. West Covina update

The search is on for Moe, who opened his cage and left his home at Jungle Exotics, not the first time he’s escaped his surroundings. Moe is perhaps the most litigious chimpanzee in history, thanks to the efforts of Gloria Allred, who put the city of West Covina through years of litigation when they dared to suggest that a chimp who had mauled a policeman (who incurred $250,000 in medical bills) and bit off a woman’s fingertip was not appropriately kept within a residential area in city limits. Moe’s former owner, St. James Davis, was himself brutally attacked by a couple of chimpanzees that apparently didn’t have a lawyer handy and were shot in the aftermath of the incident without so much as a habeas corpus petition filed. (Davis “lost his nose, an eye, most of his fingers, both testicles and much of the flesh from his buttocks and face and left foot.” His wife just lost a thumb in the attack.)

No word on how much San Bernardino County taxpayers are paying for government officials’ role in the search. [Inland Valley Daily Bulletin; LA Times blog; LAist; March 2005 CNN transcript]

In recent years, the Davises brought a new lawsuit against West Covina over their original bullied settlement, and West Covina taxpayers were required to pay them another $32,000 plus $300/month “chimp support” for Moe, with the right to return to court to ask for an increase in support payments. (CBS2, Jan. 26, 2007).

We never did get around to mentioning a May 2005 Washington Post piece on the St. James Davis & Moe story.

And if you’re one of the hundreds of people here because you’re curiously googling for St. James Davis, here’s a Flickr picture of the now-noseless and lipless Davis returning home after the 2005 attack. But do come back for the discussion of lawsuits.


  • […] The St James saga has been going on for some time and people are wondering about just how much the issues surrounding Moe and the related incidents are costing–such as this post: “In recent years, the Davises brought a new lawsuit against West Covina over their original bu… […]

  • Today I read newspaper article about a young girl found 8 miles from San Gorgonio Summit. She said she was worried about bears but saw only squirrels and what she described as a monkey , walking and then running through the trees. Then I read that Moe is still missing. Could moe be what this girl described. He’s been gone awhile. I think its possible he got that far. Then the fact she mentioned a monkey is odd.

  • I forgot to mention that I called the 1-800 number for Moe and I told her about it. She took my name and number.

  • I live in california, and always wanted a monkey or chimp. I thought we caould not have them here. I am going to go get one.

  • Yeah Charles, go get a monkey and see if he bites you. LOL
    Your a monkey for even wanting one.

  • It sure is a good thing that the people of California have plenty of money for this kind of stuff. Otherwise they might have to trim a few programs.

  • I heard Moe just dented a police car, and the woman was told not to put her hand in Moe’s cage to pet him, but she did anyway. She had red nail polish on, which Moe mistook for licorice, one of his favorite treats.

    But I still don’t believe people should be allowed to own chimps. They are complex and potentially very dangerous animals, even though they are cute as hell…especially when they are young