Officials search for monkey's owner

Wednesday, September 26, 2007 | 7:10 p.m. CDT; updated 12:44 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Officials are trying to locate the owner of a monkey that bit a 7-year-old boy at Stephens Lake Park on Saturday. The monkey was last seen with a woman presumed to be its owner near downtown Columbia and at Stephens Lake Park during a dog show.

Molly Aust, a Columbia and Boone County senior animal control officer, said the bite broke the boy’s skin, and he received medical attention at an emergency room. The hospital contacted animal control to inform them of the bite.

From what animal control has determined, the bite took place during the dog show, Aust said.

“Nobody seems to know exactly what happened,” Aust said.

The Columbia/Boone County Health Department and Columbia Animal Control are searching for the monkey’s owner to determine if the boy is at risk for disease.

Aust said the monkey has been identified as a Rhesus Macaque.

“We are reasonably sure, but we are not monkey experts,” she said.

The health department released a photo Wednesday of the woman with the monkey that was taken during the dog show. The image has been altered to obscure the woman’s face. Neither Aust nor a spokesman from the health department knew why the woman’s face was blurred.

Anyone with information about the monkey or owner should call animal control at 449-1888. All calls will be kept confidential.

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Glenn Rice September 26, 2007 | 3:02 p.m.

This is rich. It's too bad the little boy was bitten & the monkey will probably be killed, if it's caught. The best part is the picture. The owner's face is obscured, making the search for the owner that much harder.... Maybe the picture's provided to identify the monkey -- as if someone will see it & think, "I wonder if that's the same monkey they're looking for?"

(Report Comment)
Anne Christian September 26, 2007 | 6:09 p.m.

This is the greatest thing I've seen all day. Maybe all week.

Sorry the kid was bitten, but I'm really excited to keep my eye out for a monkey!

(Report Comment)
Anne Christian September 26, 2007 | 6:12 p.m.

Oh we're looking for the owner, not the monkey! That's much less exciting, I take it back.

(Report Comment)
Gwen Rosdale September 26, 2007 | 11:40 p.m.

This is bananas! B-A-N-A-N-A-S!

(Report Comment)
Ann Rogers September 27, 2007 | 8:51 a.m.

These comments are pathetic!! The only thing more unbelievable is the fact that they would alter a photo of a woman who illegally had a monkey in the city limits and bolted after the monkey bit a friend's son. The owner had no morals--didn't offer any help, any information on monkey's health, just bolted. The mother was busy dealing with lots of blood and a very upset 7 year old. Did the monky owner care? NO! She knew she was illegal. So, now it is a PUBLIC HEALTH RISK and we are protecting this woman's idenity?? Unbelievable. And you all that think this is the greatest story probably don't have children, and if you do, double shame on you.

(Report Comment)
Wendy Brasses September 27, 2007 | 9:41 a.m.

Last time I checked into it ownership of a monkey in the state of Missouri is not illegal. Here is a link there is also a link at the bottom of the page to specific cities that have banned certain animals and Columbia is not even on the list( Do you have sources?

(Report Comment)
Glenn Rice September 27, 2007 | 10:16 a.m.

Ann Rogers -- I DO have children. I am NOT protecting anyone's identity. And as Wendy Brasses notes, it's NOT illegal to own a monkey in Columbia. Check the ordinances yourself -- refers to "Animals and Fowl". And to suggest that the owner has NO morals is a ridiculous exaggeration.

It's your comment that's pathetic, not ours.

(Report Comment)
Ann Rogers September 27, 2007 | 10:45 a.m.

Glenn Rice and Wendy Brasses--Just talked to a woman from Animal control named Debbie. My friend, whose son's health and life is in danger from the monekey bite, was told that to have monkeys in Columbis is illegal, but legal in the county. I called Debbie to confirm this after reading your all's unbelieveable remarks. I've been making calls all morning, and found out there WAS an unaltered photo and called the Tribune to get to bottom of it, they have updated their website. And IMO, a woman who brings a monkey to a park, encourages kids to play and feed it, lets it run loose until it bites the crap out of a little boy's finger and flees, lacks a tremendous amount of moral integrity. She did not offer any help, any information, she just fled. How would you feel about her morals if it was YOUR son. As Debbie at animal control said, rabies are the least of their concern. This is a huge PUBLIC HEALTH issue and to find it funny boggles my brain. I'm not pathetic in any way, I care about a young boy. Please explain how that is pathetic. You should be embarrassed.

(Report Comment)
Wendy Brasses September 27, 2007 | 11:30 a.m.

I realize that you are coming from a very passionate stance in all of this. However, there is no need to state that my remark was unbelievable. I was just wanting to know exactly who your sources were because it seemed that you had/have an emotionally biased perspective.

If you go to the link that Glenn Rice provided you will see that it is the Director of Public Health that dictates what is considered to be a "a dangerous exotic animal".

While I agree this woman probably made a bad judgment about having the monkey in a situation where it might cause trouble, the boy's mother is at least partly at fault for allowing him to pet and feed the monkey.

(Report Comment)
Glenn Rice September 27, 2007 | 11:41 a.m.

I'm not responsible for the altered photo; I'm just a reader like yourself. I disagree with statements that equate someone making a mistake (even a serious one) with having NO morals, which is exactly what you said above. As for my sense of humor, it's pretty obvious that it's not like yours. If you bother to read the original comments (instead of attacking them) you'd see that we all expressed sympathy for the boy. You said that "you all that think this is the greatest story probably don't have children" -- I say that it's possible to have children AND see humor in the reporting of this incident. Sorry your brain is boggled by that. There's nothing for me to be embarassed about.

Please cite the Columbia ordinance that outlaws monkeys as pets.

(Report Comment)
Wendy Brasses September 27, 2007 | 11:42 a.m.

Here is the Boone County Public Health website newly updated to clearly state that ownership of non-human primates is illegal.

(Report Comment)
Derek Wade September 27, 2007 | 11:50 a.m.

Enough about the law. Blah Blah Blah. The owner of the monkey was at fault. I was there. She did not warn anyone of the possiblity of being bitten. The little boy was trying to feed it popcorn. The monkey grabbed his hand and bit him on the finger. The owner did not say a word of warning, after the bite she did not say a word and did not offer assistance. She dissappeared only a few minutes after the bite.

The mother of the child cannot be faulted. The owners posture was inviting. Everyone seemed to assume the monkey was tame.

Someone knows who the monkey owner is and someone should turn her in.

(Report Comment)
Ann Rogers September 27, 2007 | 12:06 p.m.

OK. So it is illegal (as I wrote) and someone who actually saw the whole thing as I did has posted. When I said the comments were unbelievable, I was not referring to naming an ordiance, just the first few comments that read about How this was the greatest story of the week, Bananas etc.

I stand by my opinion that this woman lacks moral integrity. I do have passion about this, but that does not skew that fact that I researched my facts and made numerous call before running across comments that made "humor" out of a very serious situation.

Nothing else to say. We are all entitled to our opinions, and I find humor in very different ways than a young boy having a serious health condition. Not my idea of "funny." If it is yours, so be it.

(Report Comment)
Glenn Rice September 27, 2007 | 12:08 p.m.

Wendy, that doesn't make it illegal, just says you have to register non-human primates. It doesn't look updated, either, it said the same thing earlier today, & besides, they can't just change ordinances whenever they want to.

I agree that the owner is irresponsible & should face consequences.

(Report Comment)
Ann Rogers September 27, 2007 | 12:14 p.m.

Animal Control said that NO ONE in Columbia had a registered Monkey. And by not having it registered, it is indeed illegal. They said this on Saturday shortly after the event, and I confirmed it again today.

I just hope they find the monkey so they can treat the young boy appropriately and not put him through the pain of unnecessary shots and treatments. Consequences for the woman are not my focus--the long-term health of an adorable young boy is.

(Report Comment)
Scott Hamilton September 27, 2007 | 12:23 p.m.

How ridiculous of the health department to obscure the photo of the person we're supposed to be looking for! Perhaps next time they can obscure several digits of their phone number to make reporting health risks into even more of a challenge. Sheesh!

(Report Comment)
Glenn Rice September 27, 2007 | 12:37 p.m.

That's different from what you said before ("to have monkeys in Columbia is illegal"), but whatever.

I never said that the owner doesn't lack moral integrity and I never said that I find humor in a little boy's being bitten. No one is laughing about that. Your "passion" has led you to completely misrepresent my comments (& others') and tar me as some kind of sadist. Great example of moral integrity there. Nothing else to say!

(Report Comment)
Tom Higgins September 27, 2007 | 12:39 p.m.

I think what is being overlooked here Glenn and Wendy is the fact that a 7 year old child is having to go through the trauma and medical dangers of this. Whether this animal is illegal or not is irrelivant. Dogs are legal but if a child was bit by one the owner would be held responsible and the dog would be tested. Bites by the Rhesus Macaque and similar species put the victim at risk for Tuberculosis, HIV, Herpes B, Rabies and several other diseases. There is nothing funny about any of this story and the woman in the picture should be arrested and fined.
Anne Christian if you think it would be "exciting" to find this dangerious animal, why don't you go out and look for it and spare this kid the testing. You obviously have nothing to do with your time.

(Report Comment)
Wendy Brasses September 27, 2007 | 1:05 p.m.

Tom, my comment was made in response to Ann Rogers claim about the monkey being illegal. I agree that it is a terrible thing that has happened. You have made a false assumption that by my not making light of the child’s potential medical dangers in prior comments means that I have overlooked an important message of the article.

Furthermore, who's to say this woman lives within Boone County? It seems that with all of the press this is receiving that surely someone would inform her that she is wanted in for questioning.

(Report Comment)
Dirk Macho September 27, 2007 | 1:14 p.m.

I wouldn't worry about monkeys -- it's the biting hobos I fear.
Tried to feed one some popcorn once; damn near bit my arm completely off. He didn't run away, just kept trying to give me a hand-made cross.
If only there was a law about that...

(Report Comment)
joni joni September 27, 2007 | 2:01 p.m.

What some people here seem to have overlooked is what actually happened here. A Rhesus Monkey bit a child and the owner left the scene. Rhesus Monkeys are used in scientific research because their bodies are able to harbor known human diseases and infections. a lot of infections a dog may have could not be transmitted nor survive in the human body. But many infections from monkey to human can and do survive. This is why it is so important to locate the animal.

No one WANTS an animal to be destroyed. But we are talking about a human child here, and we have NO IDEA where this moneky originated from. Could he possibly have originated from a lab even? No one knows until the owner is found. There are many law enforcement agencies who can take this blurred photograph and clarify it so that the owner can be loctaed. It is my hope that they do so for the innocent child's sake.

(Report Comment)
joni joni September 27, 2007 | 2:06 p.m.

I see there are a lot of ignorant and uneducated internet trollers here. What a shame.

(Report Comment)
Wendy Brasses September 27, 2007 | 2:22 p.m.

Joni,the tribune has posted an photo where the face was not blurred.

I wonder if they are considering the fact that there was a circus in town that day and, they had monkeys with them.

(Report Comment)
Glenn Rice September 27, 2007 | 5:20 p.m.

Joni, I don't think you understand what a troller is.

(Report Comment)

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