Landmark Lawsuit Filed to Free Candy the Chimpanzee from Decades-Long Solitary Confinement at Louisiana Amusement Park

Posted on November 17, 2015

Park Violating Endangered Species Act by Isolating and Neglecting Endangered Chimp

For immediate release:

Patricia Jones, Paws PR: 718-651-7187

candy-230pxBATON ROUGE, LA — Today the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF), the nation’s leading legal advocacy organization for animals, filed a lawsuit against Sam Haynes and the Dixie Landin’ amusement park for inhumanely confining Candy, a 50-year old chimpanzee who has been alone for more than 40 years. ALDF alleges Haynes and Dixie Landin’ violate the Endangered Species Act (ESA) by isolating and neglecting Candy. The groundbreaking suit would extend important legal protections to chimpanzees, who experts agree can suffer and experience in ways similar to humans and deserve special protections.

Candy, the country’s loneliest chimpanzee, subsists in a virtually barren concrete cage, where she passes her time staring into space, drinking Coca-Cola, and smoking cigarettes thrown to her by patrons. Candy’s living conditions are grossly deficient and cause intense physical and psychological harm. Chimps are a social and intelligent species, and need the companionship of other chimpanzees and opportunities for enrichment. Candy has none of that, and experiences painful and punishing solitary confinement, which has been condemned by world-renowned primatologist Dr. Jane Goodall and comparative psychologist Dr. Roger Fouts.

Video footage acquired by ALDF shows Candy sitting in the corner of her cage for hours at a time, starring into space—a sign of severe depression. She has been known to rock back and forth—what animal behaviorist call “stereotypic behavior,” which is symptomatic of poor welfare, severe stress, or even mental illness. On other occasions, she curls up into the fetal position on the concrete floor.

“This is a landmark case for animal protection,” says Animal Legal Defense Fund Executive Director Stephen Wells. “Chimpanzees don’t deserve to suffer in punishing isolation, and we will see that justice is served.”

ALDF represents Cathy Breaux and Holly Reynolds, two long-time Baton Rouge animal advocates who have fought for Candy’s freedom for three decades, as well as the Coalition of Louisiana Animal Advocates.

Chimp Haven, a nationally renowned chimpanzee sanctuary located in Louisiana, stands ready to provide Candy with a new home in a naturalistic enclosure that is suited to her physical, behavioral, and psychological needs, with expert veterinary care.

For more information, including a copy of the complaint, video, and photos go to


12 thoughts on “Landmark Lawsuit Filed to Free Candy the Chimpanzee from Decades-Long Solitary Confinement at Louisiana Amusement Park

  1. Leslie Edwards says:

    Please free this endanger chimpanzee. She deserves to retire. Feel ground, be with other chimpanzees. Please have mercy.

  2. Laura Lanza says:

    I moved to LA in 1976 and as I joined animal welfare organizations in the late 70’s and became involved in animal control in the 80’s, I constantly heard about Candy’s plight. It is shameful that this individual has kept Candy in such deplorable conditions for over 3 decades while the ‘system’ has failed to protect her best interests in spite of all the outrage over these many years. I am hopeful that this lawsuit will finally make her freedom a reality after these decades of isolation and misery.

    1. Rebekah says:

      Is there anything we can do? I just learned about this and literally am so depressed over this. I can’t stop thinking about it. Are there any updates to share? I just can’t bear to think of her like this….truly breaking my soul.

  3. Patricia Broussard says:

    Imagine being confined in a cement cell, alone, for forty years. FORTY YEARS!!! The inhumane treatment of this poor animal by her captors must come to a merciful end. While her captors go about their daily lives then retire to their families, comfortable homes and beds, this chimpanzee sits in deafening solitary confinement. How do these people sleep at night??? How do they not go mad knowing they are responsible for her misery? I pray this lawsuit prevails in court, and this beautiful creature can live out her remaining years at a sanctuary.

  4. Roger Brugess says:

    This is no way to treat any one, and including an animal. Chimpanzees are an intelligent species and should not be treated this way. Set her free.

  5. sarah says:

    Please give candy a chance to live out her life in suitable conditions, with other chimps. let her feel loved not lonely. please be kind! she didn’t do anything to deserve this solitary confinement!

  6. JJordan says:

    I’m heartbroken to see this poor soul isolated and caged in the cruelest manner. How can we allow this kind of barbarism to continue? Thank you so much for taking action to try to help her.

  7. Kathy Judd says:

    Hi, I live in Baton Rouge. How can I help? I am part of a local homeschool co-op and I am wondering if the kids could get involved by writing letters and/or protesting.

  8. Deborah Impemba says:

    This poor animal should be in a natural habitat sanctuary where she can have room to roam and play and would have the companionship of other chimps. It is natural for it to take some time for her to adjust to the other animals because she has been in isolation for so long. It is horrible that she has lived her whole life in such sad conditions. It is neglectful and abusive that she is given soda and cigarettes to smoke and drink. How is that funny or entertaining. I Hope they win this lawsuit.

  9. Andrea Hall says:

    This is cruel and unfair.

  10. Elle Jolie says:

    YOU have the ability to treat Candy this way and you have for many long years. But you do not have the right to deprive another living creature of what it needs to live as God intended it should live. Free this animal and her fellow captives.

  11. Lori Wangerin says:

    Just wrote Dixie Landin’ amusement park an email condemning them for the poor treatment of this sentient animal. I’d like to know who lights Candy’s cigarettes. DISGUSTING.

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