LACONIA — State conservation officers are looking for a new home for a monkey seized during a search of a Laconia property Monday afternoon.
According to Lt. Bradley Morse with the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department, conservation officers executed a search warrant around 4:30 p.m. Monday at a property at 33a Roller Coaster Road in Laconia, after receiving a tip that a monkey — or primate — was being illegally kept as a pet on the premises.
According to Morse, conservation officers found and seized a primate found in the possession of Penny Dessalines, 47, and Burnie Johnson, 51, and transported the animal to Dr. Michael Dutton at the Exotic Pet and Bird Specialty Clinic of New Hampshire in Weare, which according to Morse is the only veterinary facility in New Hampshire specializing in primate care.
Morse said conservation officers, Dr. Dutton and local wildlife officials are busy trying to find the monkey not only an acceptable home, but also a legal one.
“Primates require a special permit to keep them as pets in New Hampshire,” said Morse. “The animal will most likely be placed in a home out of state once a suitable location is identified.”
Morse was unsure how long the process of finding the monkey a new home might take.
Under New Hampshire Fish and Game regulations, a permit to possess wildlife is not required for any person to possess wildlife designated as non-controlled species such as aquarium fish, amphibians, reptiles except for alligators, crocodiles, and venomous species, many pet birds, small pet mammals like gerbils and hamsters. However, no person shall be issued a permit to possess wildlife that has been designated as prohibited. These prohibited species include, among others, zebra mussels, non-indigenous crayfish, walking catfish, and the white amur.
A person must possess a permit to possess any live wildlife designated as controlled, which includes many wild turtles and salamanders, alligators, crocodiles, badgers, bears, cougars, coyotes, elephants, kangaroos, big cats, and large primates such as chimpanzees and gorillas.
Morse said while the incident remains under investigation, charges will likely be filed against Dessalines and Johnson sometime this week.