Sanctuary claims owners abused monkey

Jan. 13, 2013 at 4:26 PM

SUNDERLAND, Ontario, Jan. 13 (UPI) -- A Canadian woman has filed a lawsuit against an animal sanctuary that took custody of her Japanese macaque monkey over allegations of abuse.

Yasmin Nakhuda filed a lawsuit against Story Book Farm, an animal sanctuary based in Sunderland, Ontario, in an attempt to get Darwin, the Japanese macaque, back, the Toronto Star reported.

On Thursday, the animal sanctuary filed a statement of defense, alleging Nakhuda bought the monkey for $10,000 from an illegal exotic pet dealer, then regularly abused the animal.

The sanctuary alleged Nakhuda strangled the monkey and beat it with a wooden spoon. She also allegedly let her two children also abuse the monkey. Nakhuda also allegedly kept the monkey in a small dog cage and neglected to change its diapers regularly, the suit said.

Darwin has been at Story Book Farm since he escaped from a dog cage in the back a vehicle in the parking lot of the North York Ikea in December.

Story Book Farm has claimed a legal defense called ferae naturae, arguing a wild animal is owned by whoever is in possession of it, making the sanctuary Darwin's legal owner.

"The defendants, in our opinions, have twisted the facts in the most sinister way imaginable so as to shock the public and discredit Yasmin," Ted Charney, Nakhuda's attorney, told the Star on Saturday. "Unfortunately, there are no rules preventing to say whatever they want, no matter how ridiculous."

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