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Monkeys in pirate suits confiscated in La.

March 2, 2011 at 5:31 PM

NEW ORLEANS, March 2 (UPI) -- Louisiana wildlife officials confiscated four monkeys in pirate costumes from an autistic woman visiting New Orleans for Carnival.

Joan Newberger, 66, and her caretaker, James Poole, said they and the four monkeys were dressed as pirates on Bourbon Street during the weekend when police and wildlife agents approached them and seized the small primates, WWLT-TV, New Orleans, reported Wednesday.

Newberger said the seizure was illegal because the primates are registered as her "service monkeys" with a group in Texas. However, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries said the monkeys do not meet the Americans with Disabilities Act's definition of service animals.

Possession of primates has been illegal in Louisiana since 2006.

Newberger is scheduled to appear in the Orleans Parish Municipal Court in July to attempt to get her monkeys back.

"This isn't some wild animal that we snatched out of the swamp in New Orleans and we're running around making money on it," Poole said.

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