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Joey on way to recovery after years of pain and misery

PUBLISHED: 12:37 23 April 2008 | UPDATED: 14:59 07 September 2010

The cage in which Joey was kept, complete with television

The cage in which Joey was kept, complete with television

By Tan Parsons A MONKEY abandoned in Hampstead and left deformed after a decade of abuse is now making a miraculous recovery. Joey, a black-capped capuchin, was left with brittle bones, a paralysed face and severe mental problems after being locked inside

By Tan Parsons

A MONKEY abandoned in Hampstead and left deformed after a decade of abuse is now making a miraculous recovery.

Joey, a black-capped capuchin, was left with brittle bones, a paralysed face and severe mental problems after being locked inside a tiny cage at a home in Willoughby Road.

He was only saved from his cruel fate when officers from the Monkey Sanctuary Trust carried out a rescue operation.

This week the sanctuary has announced Joey is making good progress, winning him widescale coverage in the national press.

The sanctuary was alerted to the monkey's plight by Keith Scott, a former friend of the monkey's owner who had abandoned him.

"I was feeding Joey every day but I was worried about him so I decided to make some enquiries about sanctuaries," he said.

"It's a terrible shame in retrospect that I didn't contact the sanctuary a lot sooner.

"I'm glad he's with his own kind now, with lots of space to move around in."

Mr Scott, who would not reveal the identity of Joey's owner, helped her buy him from Surinam in South America.

In his mesh cage in Hampstead he never saw sunlight and his only company was a giant television with the sound switched off.

When his owner left the area, abandoning the monkey, Mr Scott continued to feed Joey his special monkey biscuits as well as fruit and vegetables.

"It was quite upsetting that I couldn't be there all the time for him - you know that when an animal starts rocking back and forth it is in distress," he said.

"But it wasn't up to me to do anything about it because it wasn't my monkey. If it had been mine I wouldn't have let it get into a state like that."

After the rescue last year, Joey is now recovering from his 10-year ordeal at the monkey sanctuary in Looe, Cornwall.

The trust estimates there are up to 3,000 pet monkeys in the UK although about 80 per cent of their owners do not have the proper wild animal licence.

Many of the owners breed monkeys in garden sheds and sell the babies for large sums of money when they are just a few weeks old.

Pippa Cann, from the sanctuary, condemned the practice but praised Mr Scott for speaking out about his experience with Joey.

She said: "The worst thing about it is that this is not illegal - you can't be prosecuted for keeping a monkey in these conditions as the law stands. There could be any number of monkeys in garden sheds across Hampstead - we just don't know.

"It's very unlikely you would know if your neighbour had a pet monkey. But unless you've got about 10 acres of tropical rainforest in your back garden and a colony of monkeys living there, it's going to be impossible for you to provide a suitable environment for a monkey to live in.

"We have been lobbying the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs for years to make it illegal for people to keep monkeys and I would urge anyone who feels strongly about this to write to their MP and ask them to confront Defra about the law."

tan.parsons@hamhigh.co.uk

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