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!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Montgomery County Police Receive Ruling in Their Favor From Animal Matters Hearing in Regards to Armini The Monkey and Elyse Gazewitz

Though this is an old article, I think this is an important issue and one that belongs in the Simian Library.

Update: Montgomery County Police Receive Ruling in Their Favor From Animal Matters Hearing Board

Today, Montgomery County Police received the ruling of the Animal Matters Hearing Board in reference to the appeal presented on June 6, 2007, by Elyse Gazewitz in reference to the seizure of her Capuchin monkey by Montgomery County Police Animal Services Officers on May 16, 2007.

Montgomery County Police accept and respect the decision of the Animal Matters Hearing Board. The board’s finding supports the facts that our animal services officers responded appropriately to this incident. Our goal from the beginning was to uphold the law, to ensure the community’s safety, and to ensure the safety, health, and well-being of the Capuchin monkey under the provisions of the law. We believe that the Board’s decision accomplishes that. Ms. Gazewitz has a period of ten days to appeal the decision. The Capuchin monkey will remain in the Catoctin Wildlife Preserve during that period. If no appeal is filed, it has always been the intention of the Animal Services Division to find an appropriate and safe wildlife sanctuary or wildlife preserve to ensure that the Capuchin monkey can live its life as nature intended. There was never any threat or intention to euthanize the monkey.

On May 15, officers responded to the 4600 block of Cherry Valley Drive in Rockville for a complaint that there was a malnourished monkey being kept at the address. When officers arrived they discovered that the monkey was well cared for, but that the owner was in violation of Maryland Criminal Law Code Annotated 10-621.

Maryland Criminal Law Code Ann. 10-621 prohibits a person from possessing a nonhuman primate, including a lemur, monkey, chimpanzee, gorilla, orangutan, marmoset, loris, or tamarin. The code does not prohibit a person who had lawful possession of a nonhuman primate, before May 31, 2006, from continuing to possess a nonhuman primate if the owner had provided written notification and documentation to the Animal Services Division by August 1, 2006.

Officers obtained documentation that the monkey was not born or purchased until after the law went into effect on October 1, 2006; which is in violation of the criminal law. A search warrant was obtained to take possession of the monkey and it was delivered to an area zoo for safe keeping, pending an appeal by the owner.

The owner of the monkey, Elyse Gazewitz, age 41, of the 4600 block of Cherry Valley Drive in Rockville, was charged with violation of Montgomery County code Chapter 5 Section 202(a)(1)(A) and violation of Maryland State Law 10-621.

The following “Findings of Fact” are included in the Animal Matters Hearing Board decision:

1. “Elyse Gazewitz owns the Capuchin monkey she has named “Armani”. Based on evidence introduced into record, the Board believes that Armani is an approximately five-month-old, nonhuman primate, Capuchin male monkey, brown and black in color.
2. Armani was not declared a dangerous or potentially dangerous animal by the Montgomery County Division of Animal Services.
3. Armani was impounded based on Maryland Law and County Code which prohibits the possession of nonhuman primates, including a lemur, monkey, chimpanzee, gorilla, orangutan, marmoset, loris, or tamarin.
4. There is no written notice on file to show that Ms. Gazewitz notified the Animal Services Division that she possessed the monkey on or before May 31, 2006.
5. Elyse Gazewitz possessed in Maryland a Capuchin monkey named Armani in violation of State and County Law.
6. As evidenced by Dr. Thomas Ryan’s report and the Catoctin Wildlife Preserve and Zoo, Armani was transported into Maryland after the law regarding the possession of exotic animals went into effect on October 1, 2006.”

The Conclusion of Law includes the following statements:

“Section 5-306 (d) of the Montgomery County Code provides that the Board may modify a decision of the Director of an animal control officer only if the appellant proves by a preponderance of the evidence that the decision was arbitrary, illegal, or not based on substantial evidence.” The board did not find that to be the case. “Essentially, the Sections of the Montgomery County Code cited by the appellant are not applicable to this situation. Armani has NOT been declared a dangerous or potentially dangerous animal in Montgomery County or any other known jurisdiction, thus the law concerning the removal of the animal from the County with 10 days after receiving a citation is not pertinent. Armani was property seized because it is unlawful for Ms. Gazewitz to possess a monkey in the State of Maryland. Ms. Gazewitz is not entitled to a ten (10) day time period to remove Armani.”

“According to Chapter 5, Section 5-301 (a) …the Director or animal control officer may, to enforce an animal control law or protect the health or safety of an animal, a person or the public: (A) seize, impound, and dispose of an animal; or (B) take any other action necessary or order an owner to take any other action necessary to enforce the law,…:Pursuant to the aforementioned Sections, the Director acted within the scope of his authority when he seized Armani.”


“That the Director’s decision to impound Armani is herby affirmed. That the Director may place the non-human primate, Capuchin monkey, named Armani, in a facility licensed to care for a non-human primate monkey.”


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