Mar 7, 2017 3:14 PM
LACONIA — A biologist in Africa helped New Hampshire Fish and Game identify a pet illegally kept in Laconia as a patas monkey — the fastest primate in the world.
Fish and Game received a tip in 2014 about this particular monkey illegally kept in New Hampshire. They contacted the owners who said they removed the primate from the Granite State and brought it to a state where it could be legally kept. Fish and Game left it at that before recently receiving another tip that the monkey was back in New Hampshire.
Officers executed a search warrant at a Laconia home Monday around 4:30 p.m. and found the male primate in the possession of Penny Dessalines, 47, and Burnie Johnson, 51, who also had children living at the residence.
Brison said the monkey seemed to be in good shape, but they brought him to a veterinarian to get testing done after seizing him from the home.
"It was like taking a family member out of the house," Brison said.
The monkey is now at a rehabilitation center that has the appropriate permit to house a primate in New Hampshire.
Officers called a biologist in Africa around 2 a.m. her time in hopes to figure out the species of the monkey. She informed the officers that this particular primate is a patas monkey, found in central Africa. Patsas monkeys can run up to 34 mph.
"It's not an animal that you want as a pet; it's a wild animal," Brison said.
Fish and Game is looking to find an appropriate home for the monkey.
"We want to make sure we have good care for this animal and that it's going to a place where it can also interact with other primates of his own species," Brison said.
Brison is unsure of how Dessalines and Johnson received the animal but added that importing a primate is also illegal in New Hampshire.
Brison said Dessalines and Johnson will face violation-level charges for keeping an exotic animal without a special permit.
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