Monkey that bit 3 has a history of being "mean"
A monkey accused of biting three people after escaping from its owner's South Spokane home is the same one blamed for hurling feces at federal...
SPOKANE — A monkey accused of biting three people after escaping from its owner's South Spokane home is the same one blamed for hurling feces at federal agents investigating a diploma mill operation a few years ago.
The animal, named Chico, actually a Java macaque, was being held Friday in an animal shelter while health authorities determine its fate.
Chico's owner could face a misdemeanor charge of keeping an inherently dangerous animal, Assistant City Attorney Tim Szambelan said Friday. He declined to identify the owner because no charges had been filed.
The Spokesman-Review reported Friday that the macaque had crossed paths with law enforcement before. In 2005, federal agents serving warrants in an investigation into a Spokane-based Internet operation selling fake college degrees encountered the monkey in a Spokane Valley home.
The home's owner kept the macaque when she subsequently moved to Spokane, the newspaper reported. The woman, who pleaded guilty last April to conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud in the diploma-mill case, is awaiting sentencing, the newspaper said.
One detective told the newspaper the primate acted menacingly and threw feces at the armed officers serving a federal search warrant to seize computers and other evidence.
Agents did not report the macaque to animal control officials at that time because they were focused on gathering evidence in their worldwide diploma mill investigation, the detective said.
"I didn't get hit," one detective told the newspaper. "But it was a mean monkey."
The Spokane Regional Health District us conducting an investigation into the animal's health history and will decide soon whether Chico will be sent to a zoo or wildlife sanctuary, he said. Euthanasia is an option if the animal is diseased, he said.
Wild animals can spread diseases to humans, "which is one reason why we have an ordinance to protect citizens from being bit," Szambelan said.
The three people were bitten several days ago while walking near the home where the monkey lived. They were treated for minor bite wounds by medics, and health department officials have talked with them about possible follow-up treatment, he said.
Health department spokeswoman Cathy Cochrane said there is a very remote chance that the bites could spread rabies or the monkey version of herpes B virus. Acting health officer Dr. Larry Jecha would decide whether the monkey should be euthanized so it could be tested for rabies.
The Java macaque is native to Southeast Asia and South Pacific islands, but Szambelan said its owner told authorities it was born in Florida and purchased from a "recognized place where you can get monkeys," he said.
Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company
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