TORONTO - The owner of a monkey caught wandering outside an Ikea store in Toronto says the tiny primate rarely left her side until he was confiscated by authorities - and she wants him back.
Yasmin Nakhuda said Tuesday she initially tried to return the monkey she named Darwin to the breeder who supplied him, but she changed her mind after hearing his cries. She says Darwin stayed near her at all times, including while she slept.
The monkey let itself out of a parked car Sunday and ambled around the store's parking lot dressed in a fitted shearling coat.
Ikea staff lured the primate into a corner before calling police, who contacted the city's Animal Services department, said Staff Sgt. Ed Dzingala.
"It was just outside the store, just in a corner area where the monkey had nowhere to go, but it was pretty scared," Dzingala said. He said Darwin had escaped its crate in a parked car.
The monkey, which reportedly wore a diaper as well, never made it inside the store and was picked up by Animal Services officers within half an hour. It was then moved to a primate sanctuary.
Nakhuda was fined $240 for breaking a prohibited-animal bylaw. She says she is considering legal steps to regain custody.
Word of the incident sparked a flurry of comments and photos on Twitter, as well as two parody Twitter accounts which took on the persona of the wandering monkey.
Mary Lou Leiher from Toronto Animal Services said there's a chance the monkey is carrying Herpes B and that having it live in a city puts both the animal and human beings at risk.
She said the monkey was very quiet and lacked signs of personality during a brief visit, adding that can be a sign of stress.
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