OTTAWA — The owner of a stylishly-attired monkey — which became an instant Internet celebrity and was seized by authorities after it was found wandering in a Canadian car park — went to court Thursday to get it back.
Canadian media said Yasmin Nakhuda’s lawyer told an Ontario Superior Court that she is willing to move out of Toronto, which prohibits owning exotic pets, in order to regain custody of the animal named Darwin.
Nakhuda reportedly broke down in tears in court as her lawyer described how zooologists, journalists and others have been permitted to see the monkey during the past two weeks, while she has been prevented from visiting Darwin at an animal sanctuary.
Kakhuda has said Darwin is more like a child to her than a pet.
The months-old rhesus macaque was found wandering around the parking lot of an IKEA furniture store wearing a sheepskin coat one afternoon in early December.
Darwin had apparently opened his crate and the door of his owner’s vehicle to go for a stroll.
Snap-happy Canadians took photographs of the cute critter and posted them online, and Darwin immediately became a viral sensation on social media.
But animal welfare authorities were less amused.
Mary Lou Leiher of Toronto’s Animal Services told a press conference that Canada is no place for a rhesus macaque.
“It’s a very exotic choice for a pet,” she said. “Common sense would say, ‘Get a dog.’”
Nakhuda was slapped with a Can$240 (187 euro) fine for owning a prohibited exotic pet, and Animal Services placed Darwin at an animal sanctuary.