A woman in Florida was accused of a Capuchin monkey biting a teenager


Joan Newberger, 75, was arrested in Putnam County, Florida, on Feb. 18, 2022, after the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission cited her for allegedly owning a Capuchin monkey without permission. Newberger is accused of selling a monkey for $ 9,500 to a 15-year-old girl from Alabama who was later bitten by a monkey.

Screenplay from the incident report

A 15-year-old girl and her mother drove about 500 miles to buy a Capuchin monkey named Sally after they spotted an ad on www.ExoticAnimalsForSale.net offering a primate for $ 9,500, according to a report of the incident.

The deal was concluded before sunrise on Nov. 22, investigators said. By 6.30am the teenager had returned her new pet and received a severe bite of her index finger, prompting hospitalization and a call to law enforcement. The 75-year-old woman now faces criminal charges.

There was Joan Newberger, the owner of Sally, who contributed to the ill-fated sale arrested Feb. 18 and charged with four counts of illegal animal conservation, according to Putnam County Arrest Records.

She was released the same day.

A spokesman for the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office did not immediately respond to a McClatchy News request for comment on Feb. 22.

Earlier, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Committee declared Newberger for possession of wildlife in captivity without permission. A report of an incident involving fish and wildlife on Dec. 9 shows that Newberger never received proper permission to import a Capuchin monkey when she reportedly brought her to Florida from South Carolina in 2020. In 2016, it also revoked its wildlife license in captivity.

According to the initial report of the incident, the case is related to the sale of a Capuchin monkey on November 22.

The report alleges that a Florida fish and wildlife investigator was called to the Putnam Public Medical Center just after 12:30 p.m. to respond to a report of a monkey bite.

She was met by a teenager and her mother, who explained that the girl wanted a Capuchin monkey and decided to buy Sally after seeing an ad on the Internet. The investigator said the couple traveled from Boaz, Alabama, to Satsuma, Florida – where Newberger lives – to buy a monkey and arrived “early in the morning before 6 am.”

Satsuma is an unincorporated community in Putnam County, about 56 miles east of Gainesville.

Newberger took them to a trailer where they said the Capuchin monkey was tied to a bed with 10-pound weights. It is reported that there was also a second, smaller monkey, later identified as a white crested marmoset.

The teenager and her mother bought Sally for $ 9,500 in cash, and Newberger wrote for them an invoice for the sale on a sheet of paper from the Holiday Inn Express, according to photos provided in the incident report. Newberger then told them she had no documents for the monkey, and suggested they go straight to the Florida border so they wouldn’t be stopped and asked for permission, investigators said.

But the mother and daughter did not go far.

According to a report of the incident, the couple decided to stop and change Sally’s diaper shortly after leaving Newberger’s house. The monkey began to act aggressively, investigators said, and the teenager along with his mother decided to bring him back.

Newberger reportedly agreed to take Sally back and return them $ 9,000, but kept $ 500 as a non-refundable deposit.

“While (the mother) was counting the cash, (the daughter) asked Joan if she could say goodbye to Sally,” the statement said. “Joan said so. (Daughter) reached out to stroke Sally, and Sally bit (her) right index finger at about 6:30 a.m. “

The couple reportedly went to the hospital immediately.

Two additional investigators from Florida Fish and Wildlife went to Newberger’s house to conduct an investigation while the mother and daughter were interviewed at the hospital. They said her house was surrounded by an eight-foot wall, and it took several attempts to get Newberger to talk to them.

She eventually allowed them to search the property where they found Capuchin monkeys and marmosets in the trailer, investigators said.

Newberger said she is the owner of the Capuchin and called it her “support animal”, but initially denied ever trying to sell it, the report said. The marmalade was licensed in her brother’s name, investigators said, but none of them had proper documents to own a Capuchin.

After that, the monkey was caught by fish and wildlife of Florida.

“Inv. (Justin) Miller has filed a criminal case against Joan Newburger for selling / attempting to sell wildlife without a valid license and has repeatedly explained to Joan that she cannot own a monkey, ”one investigator said in a report. “Joan was angry and refused to sign the monkey. However, she was reluctant to put a few toys in a cage for transportation and also put a capuchin in a cage. ”

As of 2015, the storage of Fr. primacy as a pet in at least 12 stateseight of which require a license in one form or another, including Florida, according to the Animal Welfare Institute.

Officials did not provide any information about Sally.

Hailey Fowler is a reporter for The Charlotte Observer, which covers the latest news in North and South Carolina in real time. She earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and previously worked as a legal reporter in New York City before joining the Observer in 2019.

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