NC couple told they must give up their pet monkey

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Jake is a Capuchin monkey. (WTVD-TV)

PINEHURST, N.C. — Susan Mata says Jake – her pet Capuchin monkey – is like a member of her family, and that means Friday may well be one of the worst days of her life.

“I am not suicidal,” Mata said. “But it makes you feel like why is there a reason to keep living?”

Mata has had Jake for years, but now Moore County Animal Control says keeping the monkey violates county rules about keeping exotic and primate animals.

“Monkeys bite, and I just learned the monkey in question had its canine teeth removed to prevent the animal from causing a serious bite wound,” explained Moore County Animal Control Director Brenda Sears.

But Mata said she has raised monkeys since 2003. She told ABC11 that in 2008, a former animal control director inspected her home and gave her permission to keep two monkeys. They have since died. The Matas have had Jake since 2009.

Manuel Mata said he’s worried about his wife’s emotional state of mind. He told ABC11 Jake is not a pet but a service animal that helps Susan, who is partially disabled from a wreck.

Read full story: WTVD-TV