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Friday, April 24, 2009

Another Monkey Attack in Missouri; "They're Nasty Critters" Says Springfield Survivor

Posted By on Fri, Apr 24, 2009 at 2:47 PM

click to enlarge A vicious rhesus monkey. Observe the fangs! - FLICKR.COM/PHOTOS/13BOBBY
  • flickr.com/photos/13bobby
  • A vicious rhesus monkey. Observe the fangs!
Sam Nigliazzo doesn't need any convincing why Missouri is one of the nation's five worst states when it comes to exotic animals.

The southwestern Missouri resident complains that the 26 monkeys his neighbor keeps on her property are a real nuisance -- and a safety hazard to boot. Earlier this month one of the primates -- a child-sized rhesus macaque -- escaped and made its way onto Nigliazzo's back porch.

"When I knocked on the window, he lunged at me and the window," Nigliazzo tells the Springfield News-Leader. "They're nasty critters."

Nigliazzo's complaint has prompted the Greene County sheriff and the planning and zoning department to investigate the neighbor -- Debby Rose.

But there may be nothing those agencies can do. That's because Rose claims she suffers a debilitating anxiety order that's only appeased by the presence of monkeys. And -- it gets weirder -- she's suing Wal-Mart and the county health department in federal court for the right to take her favorite monkey with her on errands and grocery trips.  

What's more, Missouri state law is almost silent on the issue of exotic animals. As the News-Leader reports, pet owners are expected to register some unusual pets with local law enforcement, but the kind of animal refuge Rose keeps may be exempt from that requirement so long as it is "properly maintained."

Which may explain why Missouri is going to the apes these days. Earlier this month, a sheriff deputy shot and killed an escaped chimpanzee that attacked him in western Missouri. That followed a 2001 incident in Jefferson County, south of St. Louis, in which a man shot and killed a chimpanzee on the loose.

And don't even get me started about tiger attacks. Those are even nastier.

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