Pet monkey that bit boy in Godfrey headed to sanctuary -

Pet monkey that bit boy in Godfrey headed to sanctuary

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By Dan Mueller By Dan Mueller

GODFREY, Ill. (AP) -- A pet monkey that bit a boy during a recent southwestern Illinois event appears to be headed to an animal sanctuary, at least for now.

A Madison County judge made the java macaque a ward of the state Friday. That appeared to resolve who should have custody of the monkey that bit the 6-year-old boy during the June 2 "Bark in the Park" event in Godfrey.

A 2011 law bans anyone from obtaining a primate as a pet in the state of Illinois. It has taken officials some time to figure out what to do with the monkey and who to hold responsible for what happened to the little boy. Authorities said a responsible third party caretaker illegally took the monkey out of state.

"All kinds of people having to expend resources trying to straighten this out.  And really we have better things to be doing without time," Madison County State's Attorney Tom Gibbons said.
After Friday's hearing, state's attorney Tom Gibbons says the St. Louis Zoo has agreed to help care for and transport the 4-year-old monkey, named Nina. The zoo says the animal is headed to a primate sanctuary.

The Alton woman who has tended to the monkey since last August says she considered Nina "like a daughter" and will visit her.

"I just hope people realize I am not a bad person,” said owner Kendra Hougland. “She would bath with me, sleep with me eat off my plate."

Charges have not been filed, but Gibbons said Houghon could still be held accountable for the attack.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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