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New Hampshire

‘Heartbreak’: Illegal Pet Monkey Seized From New Hampshire Family

A New Hampshire family is devastated after authorities took away their pet monkey.

"When you bond with something, it's a part of you," Penny Dessalines said through tears.

In the Granite State, it's illegal to keep primates as pets. But for the last three years, Bella the monkey went everywhere her owner did.

"We'd dress her up and bring her outside," Dessalines said.

But now, she is dealing with the pain of losing her pet.

"Definitely heartbreak to see her go," she said.

Monday evening, New Hampshire Fish and Game Officers took Bella from her Laconia home and brought her to a nearby vet.

"It really was a really terrible situation for all," said New Hampshire Fish and Game Conservation Officer Chris Brison. "I understand the attachment of having pets, but again, this is not a pet, it's a wild animal."

Not only is it illegal to keep a primate as a pet in New Hampshire, but Brison says it's also dangerous.

"They become too much to handle," he said. "They become aggressive."

As it turns out, Bella is a Patas monkey – the fastest primate in the world.

"It can run upwards of 32 miles an hour," Brison said.

Desalinas says she didn't know that when she bought the baby monkey from someone in Tennessee.

"It wasn't probably the best decision," Dessalines said.

She admits Bella grew bigger than they expected and was becoming more and more destructive. So while it's tough to see her go, Bella's family knows it's for the best.

"I know I couldn't keep her in the crate all the time," Dessalines said.

She and her husband were issued a fine for keeping Bella as a pet.

Right now, authorities are looking for a facility that can properly care for the monkey. It could be in New Hampshire at an educational facility, as long as they obtain the proper permits.

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