WATCH: A judge ruled Friday that Darwin the Ikea monkey would not be returning to Yasmin Nakhuda’s care. Carey Marsden reports.
TORONTO – An Ontario judge has ruled that Darwin the Ikea monkey is a “wild animal” and should not be returned to the woman who calls herself his “mom.”
In her ruling Friday, Ontario Superior Court Judge Mary Vallee says the monkey is a wild animal and bylaw officers were entitled to detain it.
“[Case law] states that the nature of an animal, rather than how it is treated, determines whether it is wild,” Vallee wrote in the decision. “The monkey lived in Ms. [Yasmin] Nakhuda’s house. He wore clothing. For a time, he slept in Ms. Nakhuda’s bed. These attempts at domestication were imposed on him.”
Vallee stated in her decision that because Darwin was a wild animal, a 1917 legal principle applies: A person only owns a wild animal when it’s in his or her possession; if it runs away, that’s it.
“The monkey is not a child,” she wrote. “Callous as it may seem, the monkey is a chattel, that is to say, a piece of property.”
Despite Nakhuda’s attempt to domesticate of the monkey, Darwin had to wear a diaper, was known to bite people and was kept on a harness to keep from running away.
Darwin has been in the care of the “Story Book Farm Primate Sanctuary” in Sunderland since he was found inside a Toronto Ikea store last December wearing a shearling coat. Nakhuda signed a release form allowing animal services to take the monkey into custody; she later argued she had been tricked into giving up custody.
But Vallee found that Nakhuda was “upset, but was not unduly influenced” when she signed the form.
Nakhuda, took the sanctuary to court back in June in hopes of getting her pet back.
There is no word yet if an appeal will be brought forward.
Nakhuda’s lawyer’s office declined to comment on the court’s decision.
Read Justice Mary Vallee’s full decision.
-with a file from The Canadian Press
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