Woman sues over disastrous monkey shipment

June 11, 2008 at 4:01 PM

CHESAPEAKE, Va., June 11 (UPI) -- A Virginia animal breeder is suing an importer over a dozen allegedly sub-standard monkeys and a 13th sick primate she says she didn't even order.

A lawyer for Gayle O'Neal of Chesapeake told the Norfolk Virginian-Pilot Wednesday that she paid more than $46,000 for 12 capuchin monkeys that were supposed to be in "proven" good health but showed up in such bad condition that some of them died or had to be put down.

"Some of them were missing digits, missing teeth,'' said attorney Brian Meals. "All were older than advertised.''

Among the ailing apes was a 13th monkey O'Neal claims was basically thrown in by the supplier, which she alleges was well aware was in poor health as well.

On top of that, the state stepped in and slapped a series quarantine on O'Neal' business last year, banning any of her animals from leaving the premises and effectively putting her out of business

O'Neal breeds exotic animals and also runs a petting zoo that supplies a variety critters to parties and church nativity scenes. She is seeking more than $1 million in damages from Amazing Exotics Education Center in Umatilla, Fla.

The company had no immediate comment on the lawsuit.

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