Kentucky bill would let service monkeys help paralyzed people - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Kentucky bill would let service monkeys help paralyzed people

Posted: Updated:

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) -- Kentucky legislators may soon debate whether to allow service monkeys to assist paralyzed adults with simple household tasks.

A northern Kentucky lawmaker has introduced the bill at the request of a family that looked into bringing in a service monkey to assist their daughter, who was paralyzed in an automobile accident. The family found out Kentucky prohibits the use of service monkeys.

"Like all families do, they were searching for ways to help," Sen. John Schickel, R-Union, said in a recent interview.


You might also like...

COLD: Snow Hammers Mid-Atlantic, Northeast!!!

WTF: Fined $1000 For Feeding Birds !!!

UPDATE: Bodies Found Near DC University!!!

SHOCK: Bull Sharks Caught Near DC!!!!


Like us on Facebook

Monkeys aren't recognized as service animals under the Americans with Disabilities Act, but some states have exemptions, Schickel said.

His bill has been referred to the Senate Agriculture Committee. Its chairman, Sen. Paul Hornback, said he's willing to bring the bill up for discussion.

"I don't know much about it myself," said Hornback, R-Shelbyville. "I'm going to try to read up on it."

The measure would restrict monkeys to in-home use and would not allow them to assist their owners in public places.

Soon after the bill was introduced, critics swung into action in hopes of blocking the measure.

"Monkeys do not belong in human homes, whether as pets or service animals," said Sarah Baeckler Davis, executive director of the North American Primate Sanctuary Alliance.

She said monkeys are wild animals that need to socialize with their own kind.

"Private situations simply do not meet these needs, and this creates a significant public safety concern," she said.

April D. Truitt, founder and executive director of the Primate Rescue Center, based in Nicholasville in central Kentucky, said the bill is well intentioned but misguided. She said it could expose both monkeys and their human owners to potential harm.

"Monkeys are not domesticated animals," she said. "They cannot be made so in one generation or 20."

The Primate Rescue Center is home to more than 50 "unwanted" monkeys and apes, including cast-offs from "helper" training programs, she said.

The Kentucky family had reached out to the group Helping Hands: Monkey Helpers in hopes of arranging for a service monkey. Since 1979, the Boston-based nonprofit organization has trained capuchin monkeys to help paralyzed adults with simple household tasks.

Hellion, the first monkey it placed as a helper, spent some 28 years with its human companion until the man died in 2007, the group said on its website.

"We have 35 years' worth of history in our organization saying that they can provide service and they can be safe and wonderful companions to people in need," said Megan Talbert, the group's executive director.

The organization tries to place eight to 12 monkeys in homes across the country each year, at no cost to recipients, Talbert said. The group's work is supported by individual donors and foundation grants, she said.

Capuchin monkeys are small, only reaching 6 to 8 pounds in adulthood, she said.

The monkeys go through several years of training to perform repetitive tasks in homes, such as picking up dropped items, flipping on light switches, turning pages of books and helping their owners get drinks of water, she said. They are never trained to do personal care needs, she said.

"They do provide great companionship to their recipients as well," Talbert said. "They bond with their recipients."

Schickel said he's sure other Kentuckians besides the family in his district could potentially benefit from his legislation. He said he hopes his bill opens discussion about the topic, but doesn't know whether the proposal will make it through the General Assembly this year.

"I know there are a lot of questions about this bill," he said. "I don't know if it's possible or not."

The Commonwealth Journal in Somerset reported recently that a Pulaski County woman was cited for having a capuchin monkey in her home. The same woman also was cited in 2012 for purchasing a monkey to be a service companion for her autistic son.

© 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Viral StoriesMore>>

  • Former Virginia Hospital Center technician charged with raping patient

    Former Virginia Hospital Center technician charged with raping patient

    Tuesday, April 15 2014 9:05 AM EDT2014-04-15 13:05:25 GMT
    A former Virginia Hospital Center technician has been arrested and charged with rape after a patient says he attacked her while she was being treated in January.
    A former Virginia Hospital Center technician has been arrested and charged with rape after a patient says he attacked her while she was being treated in January.
  • Cuba slashes more than 100,000 health care jobs

    Cuba slashes more than 100,000 health care jobs

    Tuesday, April 8 2014 9:35 AM EDT2014-04-08 13:35:59 GMT
    HAVANA (AP) -- Cuban authorities say they have eliminated more than 100,000 jobs in health care, considered one of the pillars of the 1959 revolution. The cuts come as President Raul Castro tries to streamline government as part of a broader economic reform package. The weekly labor newspaper Trabajadores said Monday that 109,000 health care positions have been cut. Two years ago, Cuba said more than 50,000 jobs in that sector had been slashed. Most of the cuts came in less-skilled positions...
    HAVANA (AP) -- Cuban authorities say they have eliminated more than 100,000 jobs in health care, considered one of the pillars of the 1959 revolution. The cuts come as President Raul Castro tries to streamline government as part of a broader economic reform package. The weekly labor newspaper Trabajadores said Monday that 109,000 health care positions have been cut. Two years ago, Cuba said more than 50,000 jobs in that sector had been slashed. Most of the cuts came in less-skilled positions...
  • Scam warning after callers claim arrest unless payment made

    Scam warning after callers claim arrest unless payment made

    Thursday, April 3 2014 7:56 AM EDT2014-04-03 11:56:45 GMT
    A warning is in from the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office about a phone scam. Someone is calling unsuspecting victims, claiming to be from the Sheriff’s Office.
    A warning is in from the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office about a phone scam. Someone is calling unsuspecting victims, claiming to be from the Sheriff’s Office.
Powered by WorldNow

WTTG FOX 5 & myfoxdc
5151 Wisconsin Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20016
Main Number: (202) 244-5151
Newsroom: (202) 895-3000
fox5tips@wttg.com

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices