Monkey business: 4-year-old capuchin found in Rialto home, transported to sanctuary

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A 4-year-old black-capped capuchin named Junior was found in a Rialto home on Dec. 9, 2021. (Riverside County Department of Animal Services)

A 4-year-old black-capped capuchin named Junior was found in a Rialto home on Dec. 9, 2021. (Riverside County Department of Animal Services)

A 4-year-old black-capped capuchin monkey named Junior was found Thursday to be illegally held in a Rialto home, officials said.

A Rialto Police Department animal control officer responded to the home after a complaint regarding two loud macaw parrots, the Riverside County Department of Animal Services said in a news release. The caller also said there was a possibility the property owners were keeping a monkey at the home.

The responding officer found that a capuchin monkey was indeed being kept at the property and determined that he was smuggled in from Mexico.

The owner did not have a permit to have such an exotic animal and surrendered it to the officer.

“The family is very devastated … very compliant but devastated,” Officer Wendy Ramirez said. “They had him in a really nice enclosure … Their intent was to do the best they can, which they weren’t very knowledgeable on actually taking care of a monkey.”

The critter was brought to Riverside County Animal Services’ shelter in Jurupa Valley, where “we provided him with a little snack: of course, a banana,” a spokesperson said.

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife helped arrange a transport and Junior is now en route to a state-approved Phelan-based sanctuary.

Junior will be under quarantine for 30 days, both to protect the other animals at the facility and to protect him. After that time, he’ll be introduced to a troupe of other capuchin monkeys to live out his life.

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