LAS VEGAS and BEND, Ore. — CJ the Chimp is doing very well after being removed from her neglectful Las Vegas home.
CJ and her late companion Buddy were kept in an enclosure at a Northwest Las Vegas home. They were cared for by people who were misguided, money-motivated and ultimately highly neglectful.
The Chimps were owned by Nikki Grusenmeyer, formerly known as Nikki Ridell along with two poker players, Lee Watkinson and Timmi Derosa. In a perfect world, all three should have been held equally accountable for the awful life Buddy and CJ the Chimps had, but that didn’t happen.
The large chimps had escaped their Vegas home more than once and it became apparent that the owner and caretakers did not have the skills needed to care for the 170 pound chimps.
In July 2012 due to the neglectful acts of the “owners” Buddy got loose and was ultimately shot to death by Police who feared for their safety as well as the safety of nearby residents.
Of course they wanted to escape. The once cuddly adorable babies who who once had the run of the house and ate at the family dinner table were now trapped in a enclosure because they were too powerful for the inept and misguided “owners” to handle.
Riddell Grusenmeyer apparently lives in some far off never never land and has refused to admit that the animals were not properly cared for. Since she got them when they were small, adorable and controllable youngsters she considered Buddy and CJ her babies and allowed them into the home.
The chimps were also considered a money-making opportunity and often appeared with Ridell when they were younger at a local swap meet.
Once they became older, increasingly powerful and aggressive Buddy and CJ were relegated to an enclosure in the backyard. Is it really any surprise that Buddy and CJ wanted out?
While the chimp saga was being played out in the media, the other supposed owners would one day claim to be owners and then another day claim to be the chimps caretakers or trainers. Timmi DeRosa a professional poker player seemed to particularly enjoy the limelight speaking with the media, but even after winning hundreds of thousands of dollars said that they could not afford to send the Chimps to a sanctuary.
After CJ the Chimp escaped yet again, the decision was finally made to transfer CJ to the Chimps, Inc. animal sanctuary. CJ has adjusted very well and, according to the sanctuary’s newsletter, she even has a crush on one of the caretakers
She enjoys being free and will live out the rest of her life in comfortable, native surroundings.Her day of being kept locked in an inadequate backyard enclosure are long behind her.
Care for CJ and the other animals at the sanctuary is not cheap. It costs almost $20,000 per year for each chimp at the Chimps.org sanctuary and they rely heavily on donations.
The poker playing former owners claim that they donate substantial amounts each month to Chimps.org. The same owners who said they had no money in the past.
We’ve reached out to the sanctuary about how much the former owners donate and will update this article when we receive an update.
CJ the Chimp has been at Chimps, Inc. since August 2012.