Like any custody battle, whether involving humans or primates, things have a tendency toward ugly. Darwin, the so-called IKEA monkey that not long ago warmed hearts all over while wandering around a parking lot in a shearling coat, is literally the monkey in the middle. Story Book Farm Primate Sanctuary which took care of the Japanese macaque now claims its previous owner abused the animal.
Yasmin Nakhuda, Darwin's 'mom' is fighting for custody of the animal, which was gifted to her by an unnamed breeder. The sanctuary now alleges that Nakhuda and her family members abused the exotic pet so that it would behave.
According to an article in CBC News, the family strangled Darwin as well as hit him "in the head and face, used a wooden spoon to hit him, forced him to live in a small dog crate, failed to change his diaper for up to three days and failed to comply with standards of care for captive primates."
Nakhuda's lawyer, Ted Charney, claims "normal pet handling" has been confused with abuse.
"We believe this pleading is designed to shock the public and discredit Yasmin so as to intimidate her into dropping the lawsuit," Charney said. "The allegations against the children are particularly disturbing."
The sanctuary also suggested the family planned to have Darwin's teeth extracted to prevent him biting the family—something he was doing to protect himself.
Prior to the hearing, animal control officers reported no obvious signs of abuse and subsequently testified that Darwin was extremely happy to see her at animal services, where she proved helpful in washing and diapering the monkey.
YouTube videos reveal a loving, human-like relationship between mother and monkey.
For now, Nakhuda refused the offer of supervised visits to the sanctuary in which she would have to sit outside Darwin's enclosure.
For now, it's a case of he said, she said. Who do you believe?
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South of the border, the gun-toting drama continues. As a means to test his kid's school security, a dad pretended he was armed when he approached a greeter saying, "You're dead."
According to an article in the Huffington Post, Ronald Miller wasn't actually armed when he arrived at Celina Elementary School one morning and threatened the greeter by pretending to be a shooter.
In the wake of so many school shootings, can you really blame him? The latest, gun-related tragedy to take place on school property, at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Conneticut, is still fresh in everyone's minds.
After he left the campus, police arrested 44-year-old Miller and charged him with third-degree felony terroristic threats, with bail reportedly set at $75,000.
But parents at the school were surprisingly forgiving of the dad's intentions, even if his actions were misguided.
"We are not prepared," parent David Siano said. "His intent was just simply to say, 'you've done nothing' and that's what it showed... So if that's what it takes, it's a shame."
Despite the spate of violence, kids aren't deterred from gun ownership, according to a study by American University / GfK Custom Research LLC as reported on Science Daily. One third of some 4,000 high school kids polled had been raised with guns in the home, while 40 per cent intended to own a gun of their own. I wonder if the findings would be any different had they been conducted now, after Sandy Hook...
Other stats from the study posted in the article include:
So much for learning from the previous generations' mistakes...