Colleen Layton use to allow the children to pet the monkeys. That really has to make me wonder what else she is doing that is dangerous. That is soooo dangerous and not a sanctury at all! These are suppose to be sanctioned monkeys, which means no one is to bother them in any way except for the care of them.
Three acres of land in a residential area is the wrong place for monkeys, opponents of Frisky’s Wildlife and Primate Sanctuary in Woodstock said Thursday at the latest Board of Appeals hearing.
I think it’s the wrong place for the wrong activity,” said Bob Lucido, whose home at 1884 Woodstock Road borders Frisky’s property. “It’s problematic just being there in a residential neighborhood.”
The hearing was the sixth held since August in what has been a long-running battle over whether Frisky’s should be able to keep its monkeys. The next Board of Appeals hearing is scheduled for May 26.
Elkridge resident Dale Schumacher, who has followed the case for years, said he sees Frisky’s as “burdensome” to its neighbors, especially as new homes are built in the area.
“At the same time, I recognize that the wildlife and primate sanctuary serves a local good and some accommodation should be provided,” he said.
Schumacher suggested that the numerous Frisky’s supporters get together and help find the sanctuary a larger, more suitable site.
Lucido agreed that Frisky’s, which moved to Woodstock after he bought his property, belongs in a different location.
“I just wish that somebody would stand up and say, ‘We’re going to do the right thing,’ ” he said. “And I think the right thing is to relocate this sanctuary where it belongs, which is on 20 or 30 acres.”
A real estate agent, Lucido even offered to help Frisky’s find a new site, commission-free.
Like other opponents, Lucido is concerned that the monkeys at Frisky’s are dangerous. Unlike the other opponents, he said he feels that Frisky’s owner Colleen Layton “does an extraordinary job” and that he is only “mildly concerned” about his safety with her running the facility.
“There’s always the chance of an animal getting out,” he said. “I’m deathly concerned about when Colleen’s not there.”
Board of Appeals member Henry Eigles said he, too, was concerned about Frisky’s future if Layton were no longer there.
Eigles asked if he would be satisfied if the board approved Frisky’s operation only as long as Layton was in charge.
Lucido said he would be comfortable with that but questioned whether the board could do that, but Eigles said the board has authority to add limitations when it grants zoning exceptions.
Schumacher also talked about the chance of a monkey escaping, calling it a “black swan” event, which is “high impact, very rare (and) hard to predict.”
Board member James Howard said people can be subject to other rare and dangerous events, such as being struck by lightning, to Schumacher responded that unlike in the Frisky’s situation, those risks are uncontrollable.
“Why would an individual move there if they were going to subject themselves to that risk?” board member Maurice Simpkins then asked.
“I’m not sure why they would,” Schumacher said.
The only other opponent to testify at the nearly four-hour hearing was Julianne Tuttle, whose testimony will continue at the next hearing. Tuttle and her husband Richard Wyckoff, who live next door to Frisky’s and share a driveway with the sanctuary, are the primary opponents in the case.
“I’m bothered because the oversight is weak and also because of all the unknowns with exotic animals,” Tuttle said during her testimony.
It was easy for Frisky’s to get its U. S. Department of Agriculture license, she said, as the department’s regulations on exotic animals are “pretty narrow.”
“There’s nothing on public safety” in the regulations, Tuttle noted. “The USDA license is a rather low bar.”
She said she thinks Frisky’s needs to be accredited by the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries, an organization that has specific standards for how animal sanctuaries should operate.
“Accredited sanctuaries usually have group housing,” Tuttle gave as an example. “ Frisky’s has mostly single cages.”
Tuttle also talked about Frisky’s rule that visitors must stay at least two feet away from the monkeys at all times. She said the rule was not initiated until she and her husband disclosed evidence during proceedings on the case nine years ago that Frisky’s allowed kids to pet the monkeys.
“The two-foot rule is an excellent idea,” Tuttle said. “But it makes me wonder if there are other unsafe practices that we haven’t discovered and brought out into the public.”
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