A Pasco couple who say they bought two capuchin monkeys because they couldn’t have children want the animals back, after they were seized by animal-control officials.
PASCO — A Pasco couple who say they bought two capuchin monkeys because they couldn’t have children want the animals back after they were seized by animal-control officials.
The Tri-Cities Animal Shelter confiscated 9-year-old Cyrus and 2-year-old Coliane from Monica and Robert Bachmann on Feb. 14 after police served a warrant at their home, the Tri-City Herald reported. Under state law, it’s illegal to own monkeys and other wild animals considered potentially dangerous, though there’s an exception for animals acquired before 2007.
“I could not have children. I’ve tried and tried,” Monica Bachmann said. “This was a void filled for me. I can’t function.”
Monica Bachmann says she only recently learned about the state law, and she’s trying to prove the couple purchased the older monkey for $12,000 in 2006 from a breeder in Louisiana. It’s unclear that there are any grounds that might allow her to keep the younger monkey, which she says they bought from someone in Tennessee.
Jon Funfar, spokesman for the city of Pasco, said Friday the city is still investigating the veracity of the documents the Bachmanns provided to determine if the claims are legitimate.
Capuchin monkeys are typically found in South and Central America and weigh between 3 and 10 pounds.
Authorities said the Bachmanns have been under investigation since they received a complaint about the monkeys last year, when the couple lived in Kennewick. Officials searched that home and found cages but no monkeys, and Monica Bachmann denied owning any. The couple then moved to Pasco.
Monica Bachmann admits she lied to animal-control officials about owning monkeys then because she was afraid of losing them. The monkeys had the run of the house. She said they slept in her arms.
She compared the situation to having children taken away by Child Protective Services.
“You would be devastated,” she said. “Your kid would be devastated.”
The monkeys are under quarantine at the animal shelter while officials figure out what to do with them. They could be sent to a zoo or sanctuary if it’s determined they aren’t legal.
Robert Bachmann became emotional when he began to talk about the monkeys, moving and the thought of them having to fend for themselves with other primates.
“It’s like if you had a kid and martial law took over,” he said. “It’s just sad.”