It's always monkey business for Jefferson County pet owner
Linda Wicklund's pet monkey, Mindy, is a part of the family. Wicklund takes her everywhere she goes, without exception. She brings Mindy to work -- Wicklund and her husband, Terry, own Western Towing in Jefferson County -- and even to the grocery store, sometimes hiding the monkey under her shirt.
"Mindy is with me 24-7," says Wicklund. "I don't go anywhere without her."
That's because Wicklund's last monkey died when she ingested poison while a friend babysat. That was 28 years ago, and Wicklund says she won't make the same mistake again.
"It limits me to where I go," says Wicklund. "There are certain places you can take them in and out. She stays on a leash on her stomach."
The 18-month-old Java Macaque weighs five pounds and stands about two feet tall. Wicklund bought Mindy in August 2004 when she was just three months old and weighed 14 ounces.
"She's done growing up, but she'll fill out," says Wicklund.
Mindy is actually Wicklund's third monkey. Her first was a squirrel money her father gave her in fourth grade. Her second, another Java Macaque, was purchased at a pet store, when Terry's friend realized he couldn't handle the responsibility and gave it up.
This time around, Wicklund carefully researched Mindy, whose breed comes from Indonesia, before she decided to spend $3,700, including airfare, to bring the monkey to the town of Concord, just south of Oconomowoc.
"Her parents came from Florida, from a private breeder who's been breeding for 15 years," says Wicklund. "We found everything online."
Indeed, the Internet has served as a cornucopia of monkey-related information for Wicklund, who learned everything she needed to know before adopting. She spent six months researching reputable breeders -- and avoiding what she calls the Florida "monkey mills."
Mindy's price tag actually fell on the low end, says Wickand. She says they range in price from $3,000 to $6,000, depending on age and breed. And Wicklund didn't buy Mindy to breed her, as some monkey owners do.
Once Wicklund found the monkey she was looking for, she did her due diligence, researching state, county and local ordinances on primate ownership, and she suggests all potential monkey owners do the same.
Says Wicklund, "You can't bring them in from out of the country, but it's OK as long as they come with a health certificate."
"Smart people should have them completely checked out. We use three vets in the Madison teaching school. I know more about her than I know about myself," adds Wicklund.
Monkey in Milwaukee?
If you've ever wondered if you can have a pet monkey in the city of Milwaukee, the answer is no.
According to representatives from the Department of Neighborhood Services (yes, we asked a few different people just to make sure), monkeys are on the prohibited list, along with bees, swine, goats and cattle.
Actually, nowhere in Chapter 78, Section 5, Subsection C of the city ordinances are primates specifically banned, but the department was quite adamant that pet monkeys are forbidden. It's a different story if you need a service monkey or run a circus, of course.
Statewide, Wisconsin is one of 18 states that don't have specific rules for primate possession. So if you want a pet monkey, check with your local municipality to see if it's allowed.
In Jefferson County, Mindy is completely legal. She doesn't wear tags like a dog, but she is current on baby and animal vaccinations, including tetanus and rabies. The monkey is gentle, but Wicklund must take extra precautions that Mindy never bites a stranger.Page 1 of 2 (view all on one page)
Thank you for standing up for monkey owners. We love a little Java Macaque boy named Charlie. We also did our research and they are certainly not for everyone. He is a 24/7 joy. He does love to wear his clothes! He tries to put them on himself if I do not get done as fast as he wants. I think many people are forgetting why this is America!! We have certain freedoms as long as we are not harming someone else or keeping them from their freedoms. It is the same with ownership of many other exotic animals.
We also love a java macaque. He is part of our family since three weeks of age and loves wearing his clothes. He tries to put them on if I don't get it done as fast as he wants. Like Linda we did research for quite some time and have only positive results. They are not for everyone. You need lots of time and patience. Charlie goes everywhere with us and is never left with anyone else. Sharing a life with him is very rewarding.
In response to... J said: Sad for this poor animal, this life imposed upon her by this woman. Shame on you. Leave animals where they belong, living a free and natural life. ... Shame on you for judging this person. What did she do wrong?? I believe that owning a primate is acceptable under certain conditions, but even with your beliefs, I am sure we both are much happier that not every dick and jane has one. I am glad that she treats her monkey well, imagine a majority the people that have monkey's that don't treat them well, and take into consideration all the people that mistreat their dogs and cats. Do they belong in their natural habitat too? If someone is going out of their way to get a primate, I can only assume they really plan to take care of it. I know many are ready to handle a primate in their home, and try to pass it off to others, but is that worse than what some owners do to their dogs and cats, not feeding them, ignoring them until they die, beating them when they need to go out, and beating them when they go to the bathroom on the floor. When I moved into my house there was a dog, tied to a chain, dead and rotting in the back yard. Well I have to go, but shaming this woman for loving a pet that happens to be exotic is wrong.
Gabrielle Collins said: As a representative of a group of exotic pet owners, I am dismayed, but not surprised, at the ignorant comments made by people in reaction to this article. Monkeys are very difficult to raise properly, which this article admits, but this is obviously a good owner. She did her homework first, researched extensively, made sure it was legal, and takes excellent care of her monkey. How can anyone say it is a bad thing? She loves this monkey as much as all of you naysayers love your cats and dogs. True, monkeys are intelligent and pose special challenges - which are talked about in the article. A monkey is NOT for everyone, not even for most people. It takes as much dedication as having a human child - more, as she will be dependent for a longer time. This monkey can look forward to a long, healthy life not in a cage in a sanctuary with no contact with people who will love her, nor in the wild where she will have to deal with myriad problems and live a very short life. This monkey has food, vet care, companionship and love. What more can you ask? I see plenty of people who put clothes on dogs too, so I don't see the outcry there. It would do well for those people who think that exotic pets are all abused or neglected to look at the facts, not the claims made by extremist groups. Yes, there are bad exotic pet owners. There are bad dog and cat owners and bad goldfish owners, too. The vast majority of exotic pet owners love and care for their pets - just as Linda cares for Mindy! Gabrielle Collins Exotic Pet Owners Uniting www.epou.org
Akasha said: And it sucks when you get Monkey Pox.
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