Liberia: Man, 51, On Trial for Subjecting Chimpanzee to Abuse

Photo credit: Bart van Eijden,


 … According to the penal code, cruel and reckless treatment of animals constitutes a second degree misdemeanor. 

A 51-year-old man from the Township of Caldwell is being prosecuted for allegedly subjecting his chimpanzee to the consumption of alcohol and smoking cigarettes.

Bobby Parker’s alleged action, according to the court, resulted in the animal becoming more aggressive and posing a risk to community dwellers.

Parker is being tried by the Monrovia City Court on charges of  possession without a permit and cruelty to animals.  If found guilty, he might be sentenced to more than a year in prison. 

According to the Court document, Parker did not possess a permit or license to keep such a live animal, which constitutes a violation of  regulation on animal welfare.

In Liberia, animal welfare legislation is not as developed as in some other countries. The country does not have not have specific laws addressing animal abuse or cruelty. However, general provisions within the penal code of Liberia, such as those related to Offenses Against Public Morality are applicable to cases of animal abuse.

According to the penal code, if a person purposely or recklessly subjects animals to cruel mistreatment; or neglect, they should be charged with second degree misdemeanor. The law is however not deemed applicable to accepted veterinary practices and activities carried on for scientific research. 

According to court documents, between January and May 1, Parker intentionally subjected the campanzee to excessive drinking and smoking.

Parker's actions, the court record shows, exposed the chimpanzee and humans in the community to danger.  According to the court, as a result of the abuse, the chimpanzee became violent and would chase people within the community and even attempted biting some.

The accused, according to the Court record, admitted to being the owner of the chimpanzee, which he purchased for US$350 and has kept it for over a year. 

The chimp was named Serena by Parker. The accused, according to the Court, also failed to keep the chimpanzee in a secure area, but allowed it to roam freely, which put the animal in harm's way as well as becoming a threat to humans in the Samukai Town Community, Township of Caldwell.