Last Christmas, animal lovers were very upset to say the least when Chris Brown gifted his daughter a baby monkey.
And the present may just earn him a spot behind bars.
Just this past week, the Los Angeles city attorney’s office confirmed that the 29-year-old has been charged with two counts of illegally keeping a primate without a permit, a misdemeanor.
Brown will be arraigned in court on February 6 — and if he is charged with the crime, he may face up to six months in jail.
Last December, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife was alerted after Brown posted a video of his daughter holding the infant capuchin monkey who was wrapped in a blanket while wearing a diaper.
Many worried animal advocates flagged the video to authorities — who then found that Brown did not have a permit to own the monkey, whom he called “Fiji.”
A year ago, the North American Primate Sanctuary Alliance (NAPSA) reached out to Brown – hoping that he would hand over Fiji to live in one of its accredited sanctuaries.
This group takes care of 800 plus rescued primates and actively works to educate the public about the risk of purchasing primates as pets.
“We can help you place your monkey at an accredited primate sanctuary where he can enjoy a healthy life with others of his own kind,” the group penned in a letter to Brown last December. “This would be the next best thing to life in the wild. Please use this opportunity to teach your daughter and your fans that respecting animals is more important than owning them.”
Fiji was seized by wildlife agents and later given to a southern California sanctuary after the group’s letter went unanswered.
Thankfully, Fiji was fortunate to end up at a sanctuary instead of living his life as a distressed pet in Brown’s home.
But while this monkey is thankfully in a better place, other primates who are born into the wildlife trade are not always as lucky.
Many monkeys or apes that are like Fiji spend their early days dressed in human clothes and diapers until they begin to grow older and become either aggressive or destructive to be securely cared for by their owners.
They at times will bite humans or even hurt themselves due to stress — as they need to socialize with their own kind.
NAPSA program director, Erika Fleury, shared with The Dodo how neglect of cute pet monkeys begins at a young age.
“Breeders don’t tell customers that infant monkeys sold as pets are ripped from their mothers years before they would naturally separate,” Fleury said. “[This] causes them harm throughout the rest of the unnatural and unhealthy lives they lead in human homes. Primates can never be domesticated …I field calls weekly from owners of monkeys who wish to relinquish their poorly considered ‘pet.’ Keeping a primate in a human home is never a good idea.”
Fluery continued to say how this all could have been bypassed if Brown would have just researched the issue.
“Regardless of who you are or the resources available to you, this story proves that keeping a primate as a pet is a poor choice -— for the humans and animals involved,” Fleury continued.
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