Ikea monkey’s owner takes custody battle to court
Linda Nguyen, The Canadian Press
Published Saturday, December 15, 2012 2:43PM PST
Last Updated Saturday, December 15, 2012 2:44PM PST
TORONTO -- The owner of a monkey who was found in a Toronto Ikea parking lot last weekend wearing a shearling coat is going to court to get him back.
Yasmin Nakhuda has filed a motion with the Ontario Superior Court to have the Japanese macaque monkey named Darwin returned to her.
In a sworn affidavit, Nakhuda argues that the tiny primate was illegally taken from her and moved to the Story Book Farm Primate Sanctuary in Sunderland, Ont., where he now lives.
She says Darwin considers her his mother and had been living with her, her husband and two children in their Toronto home since July.
Last weekend, the seven-month-old monkey captured worldwide attention after he somehow let himself out of a parked car and ambled around the Ikea parking lot dressed in a fitted shearling coat.
He was eventually captured by animal control officers, who fined Nakhuda $240 for breaking the city's prohibited-animal bylaw.
In the documents, Nakhuda says she and her husband Samar were not permitted to even see Darwin when they went to get him at Toronto Animal Services later that day.
She says she was distraught and tricked into surrendering the animal to Animal Services, after they allegedly threatened her with criminal charges and told she would never be able to see the monkey again.
An officer also allegedly told her she needed to sign the animal over so they could test it for diseases.
Nakhuda says her family is prepared to move out of Toronto to a city that permits owning a monkey if he is returned.
"We love Darwin and we believe that he in turn loves us and has developed a very close bond with us," said Nakhuda in the court documents.
"We miss our pet dearly. I believe it is also in Darwin's best interest to be returned to the only family he knows and loves. He is distressed because he has been taken away from me."
None of the allegations contained in the documents have been tested in court.
The primate sanctuary has previously said the monkey is doing well and the agency was prepared to fight any legal challenges for its return.
Nakhuda's motion will be heard Dec. 20 in Oshawa.