The Animal Legal Defense Fund has filed suit against Dixie Landin’ in Baton Rouge, claiming that Candy, a chimpanzee, is alone and should be in a sanctuary.
According to the suit filed on Tuesday: "Defendants have for decades allowed members of the general public to throw items into Candy's cage, including lit cigarettes that Candy smokes. Just as with humans, cigarette smoking is very harmful for chimpanzees.”
The Animal Legal Defense Fund also posted a video of Candy:
The suit alleges that Candy’s cage is “inadequate” and that she is not being given the proper care.
“Defendants provide Candy exclusively with Coca-Cola instead, claiming that Candy does not like water. However, Candy has readily accepted and drunk water offered to her by visiting experts. Water, not Coca-Cola, is an essential requirement for chimpanzees,” according to the suit.
The suit also claims that city animal control officials cited the park in 2012 for not providing water for Candy.
The suit was filed under a new federal law that requires captive chimpanzees to get the same protection as wild chimps, the Associated Press reported. According to the attorney for the Animal Defense Fund, Carter Dillard, the captive chimpanzees classification changes from threatened to endangered.
According to the Associated Press, Jennifer Treadway-Morris, an attorney for the park’s owner, Sam Haynes, has said she has not had time to read the suit. She also said that government agencies such as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service cannot make rules retroactive.
She also cited a letter from a veterinarian stating that an attempt to retire Candy to the Baton Rouge Zoo failed, according to the AP.
"She was returned because she couldn't adjust and couldn't assimilate," Treadway-Morris said. "It seems that if they want her to have company, she doesn't want it."