CLEARWATER, Fla. (CN) – An unpaid volunteer says a primate sanctuary failed to protect her from a chimpanzee that attacked and bit her as she cleaned its cage.
Andrea M. Maturen says the Suncoast Primate Sanctuary Foundation has greater knowledge of what’s required to deal with chimps, but failed “adequately segregate” the adult female, Shawn, or to put a panic button in the chimp’s cage. Maturen also says the foundation did not immediately provide her with medical care, causing her “considerable and unnecessary physical pain and suffering, fear, angst, terror and emotional pain and suffering”.
The sanctuary’s attorney, however, said, “This lawsuit never should have been filed.” Attorney Tom Dandar, of Tampa, added, “We have paperwork that she signed.”
Dandar acknowledged, though, that the chimp did bite Maturen, on Feb. 12, 2010.
Maturen seeks damages from the sanctuary and its owners, Debbie and Jon Cobb.
Maturen also accuses the sanctuary of “negligently misleading law enforcement,” which further delayed her medical treatment.
Maturen is represented by David Henry, with Morgan & Morgan of St. Petersburg.