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Monkey that bit three girls adapting to Texas

February 20, 2002

Monkey that bit three girls adapting to Texas



Martinsburg, W.Va.

By SARAH MULLIN / Staff Writer


Sha Nay-Nay, the monkey that bit three young girls last August at a mobile home park in Inwood, has adapted well to its new home at Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation Inc. in Boerne, Texas.

"She is doing beautifully," said Lynn Cuny, executive director and founder of the nonprofit organization. "She is a sweet, sweet little animal."

The monkey, an old world Rhesus Macaque, no longer has a name because Cuny said names threaten the identity of the animals.

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"They are wild animals and names denote that they belong in human hands, which they do not at all," she said.

The Berkeley County Commission received numerous calls and e-mails from organizations willing to take care of the monkey, including an animal sanctuary in Mississippi and zoos in Maryland and Pennsylvania.

The Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation organization was chosen because Martinsburg veterinarian Robin Townsend recommended it, Berkeley County Commission President Howard Strauss said.

The commission spent about $300 to fly the monkey from Baltimore Washington International Airport to San Antonio, Texas, in October, he said.

The last they heard was that the animal had arrived and been picked up by the rescue organization, Strauss said.

Cuny said the monkey lives with another female Macaque monkey, who was having problems getting along with others.

"They are very compatible and good friends," Cuny said. "Constant companionship is very important to primates."

Before the monkey left West Virginia it was tested by a Winchester, Va., veterinarian for about eight diseases including Hepatitis B, tuberculosis, measles, E boli, scurvy and HIV, Animal Control Officer John W. Ramos said.

All tests came back negative, he said.

The same tests given to the three confirmed victims also came back negative, he said. The girls were not seriously hurt when bitten by the monkey.

The monkey's home is adorned with real vegetation like that in its natural habitat. There are no cement slabs, Cuny said.

"Now she gets to be a monkey again," she said.

The monkey will spend the rest of its life at the sanctuary.

The owner of the monkey was never found.

Officials believe the monkey came from Arizona. The monkey was staying in a mobile home in Eastwood Trailer Home Park on W.Va. 51 with people who were "monkey sitting," Ramos said.

The County Commission wanted to prohibit the ownership of exotic animals and took steps to change the state regulations, but to no avail, Strauss said.

"Legislatures could not get a bill for it," he said.

Cuny agrees that wild and exotic animals have no place in human homes.

Her organization was founded to help wild and exotic animals who suffer from human contact and ownership.

Her organization has two functions. It rehabilitates native species and places them back into the wild, and it serves as a sanctuary for wild animals that have been victims of the pet trade or road side zoos or have been used in research facilities.

The permanent residents, like the monkey sent from Berkeley County, are never placed on exhibit, and they are not bred, sold or traded, Cuny said.

More information on the organization is available at www.wildlife-rescue.org.

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