Rest in Peace, Archie

Posted by Matthew Liebman, ALDF Senior Attorney on January 15, 2015

Last Friday afternoon, I was working on a brief in a lawsuit we filed to rescue a lonely chimpanzee named Archie from a solitary cage at a pathetic roadside zoo, when I learned that, just a few hours earlier, Archie had died in a fire.


It’s the kind of news that stops you cold and forces you to confirm it, over and over again. And once the reality sinks in, you start to ask yourself those nagging questions: Could I have done anything to prevent this? What if I had acted more quickly? What if I had tried harder to save him? Of course, ultimately the responsibility for Archie’s death lies with those who held him captive, but still the questions linger.

Here’s how we described Archie’s life at North Carolina’s King Kong Zoo in our lawsuit:

Among the suffering animals at King Kong Zoo is Archie, a chimpanzee confined in isolation in a chain link cage with a concrete floor. Archie spends his days sitting or lying alone in his cage. Archie is a member of an intensely social species, members of which often decline into extreme psychological and physical suffering when isolated. The only “enrichment” available to Archie is a tire swing and a blanket. Archie consistently displays tell-tale signs of extreme psychological suffering, which now also manifest in forms of self-abuse and physical suffering including compulsive hair-plucking, which has left bare patches on his arms. Archie displays symptoms of extreme psychological and physical distress and suffering that would be expected in isolated captive chimpanzees.


Both before and after filing the lawsuit, ALDF offered to assist King Kong Zoo in moving Archie to a reputable sanctuary that could give him the kind of care and environment that he so desperately needed and deserved: interacting with other chimpanzees with grass under his feet and the sky above, under the supervision of expert veterinarians and caregivers. Instead of taking us up on our offer, King Kong Zoo’s owner, John Curtis, decided to ship Archie off to Hollywild, a horrible roadside zoo in South Carolina under investigation by the USDA for chronic and repeated violations of the Animal Welfare Act. Just a few months after arriving at Hollywild, Archie died of smoke inhalation from an electrical fire in Hollywild’s “primate barn.” Twenty-seven other animals died along with him. Shockingly, Hollywild’s veterinarian said, “It appears it was a quick and painless death for the animals that died.” One shudders to think this is the person in charge of animal care.

After all he had been through, Archie deserved to breathe his last breath in the fresh air of a loving sanctuary, not choke to death on smoke from an electrical fire behind bars at a dilapidated roadside menagerie. We tried to rescue Archie, but we didn’t get there soon enough. That hurts. A lot. But we haven’t given up on our case against King Kong Zoo. We’re determined to keep King Kong Zoo and John Curtis, who consigned Archie to a life of misery and a horrific death, from ever owning animals again. In fact, our opening appellate brief is being filed today. Archie’s life was tragic; we won’t let his death be in vain.

53 thoughts on “Rest in Peace, Archie

  1. Joe says:

    Run and climb free Archie…You are home now…Free as you should be…We will keep up the fight…G-D Speed Brother…

  2. Gill Kilroy says:

    such a terrible story and have posted. My disgust in their Facebook page. also on Holywild,s. However so many posters on there praise that place, how come???

  3. Susie Stanley says:

    od help those that caused these animals horrible deaths..they will pay,without repentance,in the lake of fire..Proverbs 12:10♡Malachi 4:1♡♡♡

  4. Donna blagg says:

    why is it that most of us are fighting for animals to be treated humanly…who are those that don’t! Why! Are! You such! Assholes! Why is an intelligent animals life mean so little to you! I guess you rape your daughters and beat your own sons you scum of the earth!

  5. Deb Buckland says:

    It is barbaric that out society still allows these animals to be kept in captivity at these roadside zoos where they are forced to endure years of endless boredom and suffering.
    Thank you ALDF for advocating for these helpless creatures…may Archie’s horrific death be the start of change.

  6. Rest in Peace. You deserved so much better

  7. jennifer says:

    Archie i am sorry you never felt grass,i would of rather you;d been free to run in grass and breathe fresh air then be cooped up for what somebodys profit and to the vet that said the death was quick and painless what the heck kind of vet are you archie died a little each day in that cage, archie you are free now wear those angel wings proud xo

    1. Jennifer is right that the veterinarian who said that smoke inhalation death is “quick and painless” is talking nonsense.

      1. Pauline says:

        Archie RIP. The vet must be stripped of his title. He is no animal lover. He is a danger to animals. To be a vet, you need to be an animal lover and fight for their rights. Owner of the zoo, when Karma visits you, think back of all the animals whom you have been the cause of their misery and death.

  8. Janet in Cambridge MA says:

    This news is very sad. RIP, sweet Archie. I’m sorry you ran into the wrong kind of humans…

  9. Stephanie in Aberdeen MD says:

    This is so sad. How can people do this to
    Animals this breaks my heart to hear about this. People are so cold hearted now days it’s
    Unbelievable. But what I think is that they
    Should be left in a small cage. And see how
    Long they can take it. With know one
    Around by him/her self. And not be out
    In the wild with grass between your toes
    And not see sunlight. See how they feel. Than,
    They will feel everything how that animal felt.
    My be they will change and then if not
    Keep them there until they die

    1. Ashley says:

      that is true i wanna cry

  10. Di OBrien says:

    Archie, I am so sorry for your sad life and that you not celebrated as the special being you were. You are free now, under no human’s control. I pray that your life
    will help others. God Bless! XO

  11. Helen shaw says:

    RIP Archie .. Such a sad sad life .. I hope justice comes to those who treated you so appallingly :'( you are free now little one xx



  13. Katharine Moran says:

    so glad Archie is finally free. Such EVIL surrounded him.
    So sorry your life was so horrible. Hope we finally find justice for the evil people who killed you ….. long ago.

  14. beverlyhoffman says:

    So sad to hear. I hope these people are punished and put on a national list so they can never be around or purchase any beautiful creatures again!!!!!!!!!!! Why don’t these laws get changed what is it going to take???//////
    You are free Archie, I hope you are swinging from the highest tree in heaven, rest my beautiful animal.

  15. Joanne Oyen says:

    Both the King Kong Zoo and Hollywild have Facebook pages. Some people have already posted angry messages on those pages for everyone to see…..real bad publicity. I have done the same. These places have the blood of innocent, beautiful, and helpless animals on their hands! I hope ALDF can get the owners of these two HELL HOLES prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Let’s give these places some real bad publicity!

  16. wolfgang planz says:

    RIP Archie !

  17. Jodie Morrison says:

    Humans do not deserve kind and loving souls. We are cowards for hurting and killing you and countless others. Please forgive us archie and know one day, not in your life, but one day it will not be legal to torture and kill for profit. Forgive us stupid humans.

  18. Fabi Sparenberg says:

    Archie, so sorry that you had to go through all this suffering in life because of terrible human beings that don’t know the meaning of love and compassion. You are now free of pain. RIP.

  19. Carol Herard says:

    I hope Archie knows how hard everyone fought to save him. I am heartbroken. I’ve started a petition to shut down the animal park where Archie died. Please sign and share.

  20. Shay ISAAC says:

    Rip Charlie. You deserved so much much more.

  21. Shay ISAAC says:

    Rip ARCHIE… are now free ♡♥♡♥

  22. Tracy Dominico says:

    re doing such important work, ALDF

  23. Tracy Dominico says:

    you are doing such important work.

  24. Linda Ciccozzi says:

    My heart breaks bringing tears to my eyes while thinking about the dispare Archie must have felt! A human who lives their life only concerned with money having no compassion for those with whom we share life on this planet is truly evil and has no soul! How we treat others, especially helpless animals, is a true reflection of ones self!! This man shld pay in some way for his cruelty! Humans do not realize nor care that while they are mistreating and destroying animals, mankind and nature itself they are, in fact, destroying themsellves! Life as we know it will be extinct..destroyed…killed…dead! RIP dear Archie! I loved you even though we never met.

  25. William Yakel says:

    Archie was one of GOD’s glorious creatures which was entitled to a life just like the rest of us. GOD is in control and he’s keeping score too. Archie’s in a much better place now. That road side freak show which tortured these poor defenseless animals are now going to get a taste of their own medicine for a change. I pray that the animals which are still alive in this freak show are released to a much better and safer humane setting because that is exactly what they deserve. GOD BLESS THESE BEAUTIFUL ANIMALS…….

  26. Simonne Reinier says:

    We wronged you, and I am heartbroken that you didn’t experience the happy life you deserved

  27. Annie says:

    People have told me animals do not go to heaven. I DISAGREE. People have said, “I do not like animals”. I feel sad for the people who feel this way <3 This is so sad of a story. Please, the one thing we can do is NOT support these places by visiting and paying to see the animal. ONLY if you plan to try to do something to make changes should you pay to visit these places. I AM EVEN INCLUDING some zoos. I do not like zoos. I love animals, but I feel the animals should stay in their natural habitat. ONLY in certain circumstances. When they are in danger or some situation such as this <3

  28. Jessika says:

    RIP Archie :-( I’m so sorry that you never lived the life you were supposed to. I completely support ALDF and hope that they will be able to help others so that they do not suffer the way you did.

  29. Heather Wells says:

    This is heartbreaking news. Poor Archie. Run free sweet chimp. Im sorry humans failed you and you couldnt live a life like you deserve. I hope justice comes to the ones that did you harm and prevents them from doing this to another animal. Rip sweet Chimp <3


  31. Glenda Ryan says:

    Our world did not deserve a beautiful soul such as you, Archie. We failed. I am so sorry. But ‘sorry’ is too late.

  32. oly says:

    R.I.P….Fly with angels Archie

  33. ulli zabe says:

    Sorry about Archie, RIP, zoos are sad places anyway…..

  34. Karen says:

    Why are the two places still operating. The roadside crap place should be fine and closed. And the zoo sorry they need to be closed down for not treating the animals there better. Tell you the truth that place sound like somewhere to get rid of the animals and collect insurance money. Run free all the animals that suffer

  35. Ashley says:

    We need to STOP NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  36. Julie Menna says:

    Archie I am so sorry for what has been done to you. If it was up to me, things like this would never happen. And I’m so sorry you passed before you had even a moment of freedom. But, now you will suffer no more. Please forgive some of us humans for they know not what they have done. We are an ignorant species… but some of us care deeply about the plight of animals such as yourself and we will keep fighting the battle against those who are ignorant, greedy, thoughtless and without compassion. WE WILL OVERCOME!! Goodbye Archie, I wish we could have helped you, but please know that we tried…

  37. betty Jeane Murphy says:

    Well.North Carolina blows it again!!!!!!!!!!! Gassing at their “shelters” isn’t bad enough???? I am so sorry for this loss……but your suffering is over, Archie… go and play in all the grass you can find under a clear cloudless blue sky!!!!!!!!!!!You were loved!

  38. BHarris says:

    Unfortunately, humans think it’s their “right” to do whatever they want with non-human “beings.” I can’t imagine someone working at this zoo, caring (not caring) for this beautiful creature, watching him slip away each day (plucking his arm hairs out), and doing nothing. I’m appalled at the owner, trainers, VETS, and whom-ever else was around who was supposed to be caring for this magnificent creature. May karma bite back, and quickly!

  39. Pranab kumar Das says:

    Very pathetic and heart touching. All animals and other species should be freed from zoos.

  40. Howard Pownall says:

    I’m hoping that someone on your side of the Atlantic is doing something about this. Living conditions like this are diabolical for any animal and the perpetrators should be pursued to the end

  41. Cheryl Timmons says:

    I hope the people who treat these smart loving creatures burn in Hell! Thats right folks an eye for an eye.

  42. Robyn says:

    Oh boy this one hurts!!!! Seeing this poor Chimpanzee who looked sad and lonely is really disturbing!! that there humans who care not only for the money..
    The owner of this zoo is EVIL and hope he gets his Karma soon……….

  43. Robyn says:

    oops didn’t proof read:

    Humans who only care for the money!!!

  44. Diane H Hartman says:

    God’s plan. Maybe his death will be the impetus for change in animal rights and more convictions. Blessings!

  45. Florence Lee says:

    I’m so sorry, Archie, but I’m grateful that you are with our Heavenly Father, our Creator!

  46. KATHY says:

    WHO are the AGENCIES that Govern these “Roadside attractions, Small family “zoos” etc. ?????? would like to know WHO to contact on the NATIONAL LEVEL AND THE STATE LEVEL, so that we can all CONTACT them & give them HELL!!!
    Whoever is in charge on both the National & State levels are SIMPLY NOT DOING THEIR JOBS or the LAWS governing these agencies is a JOKE>>
    Would appreciate ur making the NAMES & ADDRESSES of these AGENCIES & the Names of the PERSONS IN CHARGE Available to all of us! Folks who love animals: START WRITING & CALLING; PROVE TO THESE JERKS THAT WE WON’T STAND FOR IT!!!!!

  47. Deedee says:

    Could Jane Goodall have helped…or going forward, can she help, along with other advocates for primates? Let’s never forget Archie’s forlorn photo along with the others dead due to negligence, greed, and severe apathy.

  48. Deedee says:

    The USDA is the agency responsible for overseeing these horrendous zoos. But they let violations go on and on…and allow the animals to suffer continuously. Livestock, puppymills, too. USDA = Useless and Sadistic Death to Animals. It is truly a disgrace. Most local, state, and federal authorities have no empathy for animals whatsoever…and many support all kinds of animal abuse. Utterly shameful.

  49. cheryl hopkins says:

    The Emotions of Anger, Outrage & Sadness won’t help Archie. Loving & Positive thoughts will help Archie on his Spiritual Journey. Karma( The Natural Law) is constant! Man-made laws need to be made more strict to protect this innocent sentient beings. Thank you AlDF for all you have done & All that you continue to do FOR THE ANIMALS!

  50. Arjun L Sen says:

    If higher animals were declared legal persons and had actionable basic rights such confinements could easily be stopped as unlawful. Corporations have been legal persons since before 1600 and I never heard oof one that has feelings.

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