BROOKSVILLE - A Nevada man was sentenced to six months probation on Thursday after pleading no contest to charges of illegally possessing and transporting chimpanzees in Brooksville.
On July 10, James Casey, 50, was found at a local primate sanctuary with three chimpanzees he was planning to sell to the owner. Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission investigators found Casey without the proper state license for the chimpanzees. He also was cited for not having the proper insurance or bond for the animals and unlawful transport.
The three chimpanzees were taken to the FWC-licensed Suncoast Primary Sanctuary in Palm Harbor. FWC investigator James Manson said the animals will be taken back to Brooksville today now that the Hernando Primate Sanctuary has the proper enclosure for the chimpanzees.
On Thursday, Casey had his adjudication withheld on one misdemeanor charge and the other three were dropped by state prosecutors.
Assistant State Attorney Sonny McCathran said adjudication was withheld because he had no prior convictions in Hernando County. Casey must pay court and prosecution costs, as well as the cost of housing the animals in Palm Harbor.
He is eligible for early termination of probation after all money is paid, according to court documents.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals representative Brittany Peet previously told Hernando Today that Casey has a "lengthy record of abuse and chimpanzee neglect" going back to 1994, and has been investigated by the USDA.
Peet said back in March that chimps under Casey's care were found living in an unsanitary trailer. Peet said Casey has admitted to punching and throwing hot tea on the animals for misbehaving and that part of his own nose has been bitten off by one of his animals.