RSPCA calls for ban on monkeys as pets after Plymouth man's neglect case
THE RSPCA has called for a general ban on keeping monkeys as pets after a case of animal neglect was heard by a Plymouth court.
Plymouth magistrates heard 53-year-old Peter Powell allowed his two marmosets to run around his flat in their own mess and his cigarette butts.
Powell, of Teats Hill Flats, Coxside, had denied 10 charges of neglect and cruelty towards his pet monkeys but was found guilty in his absence after he missed his trial.
He was banned from keeping primates for life and ordered to pay £1,000 costs to the charity.
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The court ordered ownership of Rattler and Tya to be handed over to Monkey World ape sanctuary in Dorset.
Powell was also given conditional discharges for two years for all offences.
His earlier trial was told Powell allowed the marmosets to run free at his home.
Primate expert Dr Alison Cronin said they were allowed to defecate and urinate where they liked and were exposed to his cigarette butts.
RSPCA inspector Becky Wadey said after the case: "It was heartbreaking to see these poor little marmosets like this – their fur was sticky with faeces and urine and they were clearly underweight and in a bad state of health. It was later found they had metabolic bone disease – or rickets.
"It is hard to understand how anyone could think this was an acceptable way to keep an animal."
It is the RSPCA's third major case involving neglect or cruelty to a marmosets since January and highlights the problems involved with the growing UK trade in keeping primates as pets.
Dr Lisa Riley, primatologist for the RSPCA, said: "These cases show exactly why we are calling for a ban on primates as pets. Marmosets in particular are seen as small and easy to keep but this is far from the truth – they are very hard to look after and totally unsuitable as pets.
"We must stop this growing trade. Breeders and dealers charge large sums of money, and it has become far too easy to pick up a marmoset over the internet, especially since you don't need a licence to have one."