The Little Rock Zoo

.The Little Rock Zoo needs to step up and care for the animals better! Please read the several artciles here with deaths, sickness and a bald chimp!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Infant Gets Head Bashed Into Cage By a Pet Monkey

Let's hope that Sarah Bernth does the right thing for not only the monkey but for the people around the monkey and place the monkey in a good sanctuary. Why can't people learn that these are wild animals, and SHOULD NOT try to keep as pets? Buy a dog, a cat, some domestic.

The owners of this monkey should voluntarily give this monkey a better home, but I fear that their own needs will come before the monkey's, relatives, friends and the public. We'll see.

Tribune Correspondent

LAPORTE — A baby was injured Sunday evening when she was attacked by a pet monkey. The infant examined at LaPorte Hospital was lucky she wasn't seriously hurt because of the strength and other dangers posed by the cuddly looking primates.

“No matter how much you try to make them human, they're wild animals and they will attack. Sometimes unprovoked,” said Jamie Huss, assistant director of the Washington Park Zoo in Michigan City.

Huss, a handler of monkeys for 16 years, is in charge of the zoo's primate house.

“They're unpredictable,” she said. “I'd never have one as a pet.”

According to LaPorte police, officers were called to the hospital emergency room just before 5:30 p.m.

Bethany Nystrom, 22, was with her 10-month-old daughter, Brenna, and the baby's grandmother, Tonya Green, 40, all of Walkerton.

The family members had been at the LaPorte home of Nystrom's aunt and uncle, Richard and Laura Burlos.

According to police, the investigation shows Green was holding her granddaughter near a cage.
Inside the cage was Sammy, a monkey kept in the home as a pet.

At one point, the baby started crying.

Green then noticed the monkey had reached out of its cage and grabbed the hood of the coat Brenna was wearing.

Sammy began pulling on the hood, causing the baby's head to repeatedly strike the metal cage.

According to police, the monkey let go of the hood but next started pulling the infant's hair.

With everyone in the home panicking, Laura Burlos reached into the cage and grabbed Sammy, forcing the monkey to let go of the infant.

Police said Brenna had “rope burn” on the right side of her neck caused by the drawstring of her coat.

She also had red marks on the back of her head from being rammed into the cage.

Bethany said the force of the blows had her concerned, but her daughter was released from the hospital that same night.

Nystrom said the attack lasted only about “10 to 15 seconds, but it felt like forever.”

Huss speculated the baby was attacked because monkeys are “territorial” and might not have liked the baby so close to its cage.

The potential for danger is heightened when monkeys are denied the companionship of other monkeys, especially when they reach sexual maturity.

“They have that look of being nice and friendly, but they don't stay that way,” Huss said.

LaPorte Animal Control officer Sarah Bernth said she learned about Sammy a year ago during a routine call and the monkey then was up to date on its vaccinations.

“They've owned the monkey for quite a few years,” she said. “I found them to be responsible pet owners.”

Bernth said Indiana is one of a few states that allow monkeys to be housed as pets without a permit.

But, she said, monkeys can be removed from a home if found to be a nuisance or dangerous, which will be one of the focuses of her follow-up investigation.


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