Chimp refuge settles safety violations, faces labor charges

BEND, Ore. (AP) — A nonprofit chimpanzee sanctuary near Bend recently settled with the Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Administration over safety violations but is now facing labor charges.

The Bulletin reported Sunday that Chimps Inc. agreed to pay over $12,000 after OSHA found unsecured doors, poor emergency planning and employees working alone.

The inspectors also uncovered 30 incidents in past years, including chimpanzees that had escaped or attacked workers, resulting in bites, scratches, bruises, skin being torn off hands and finger or thumb amputations.

While that case is closed, the state Bureau of Labor and Industries last month filed charges of unlawful practices against the sanctuary related to complaints from three former employees.

The ex-employees claim they were fired for refusing to sign waivers including one that waived their right to call 911 in an emergency.

Chimps Inc. staff was unavailable for comment