Colleen Layton and her husband Scott Robbins currently do business as Frisky's Wildlife and Primate Sanctuary Inc. on 3.7 acres in Woodstock. According to their Web site, they care for small, indigenous wildlife that has become orphaned or injured, for domestic animals such as rabbits and farm animals that can no longer be cared for properly.
They also care for primates from sanctuaries or private owners around the country, the Web site says - not orangutans or gorillas, but monkeys of the macaque, squirrel, capuchin and vervet guenon varieties.
Frisky's was notified in December 1999 that it was operating a charitable and philanthropic institution without a special exception approved by the Howard County Department of Planning and Zoning.
The operators submitted a petition, which wound its way to the county Board of Appeals, which in 2004 granted Layton and Robbins an exception allowing them to operate an animal rehabilitation center on the property.
The exception, however, did not incorporate the right to operate a primate sanctuary. The board found insufficient evidence to support the approval of Frisky's as a wildlife or exotic animal "exhibitor," which would have allowed the keeping, holding or selling of wild or exotic animals under a Howard County Code provision then in effect.
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