Monday, March 26, 2007

Confiscated monkey sent sexually explicit audio tapes by Plano owner

A Plano resident allegedly sent his male monkey a sexually explicit audio tape while the animal was in custody at the Living Materials Center (LMC), according to LMC staff.

Darwin, a Rhesus Macaque Monkey, was confiscated by animal services on Feb. 21 after police found illegal animals in owner Bobby Denton Crawford Jr.’s home.

Darwin was released back to Crawford Friday afternoon after being transported from the LMC, where the monkey stayed the past month.

Sherry Smith, a spokesperson for Plano Animal Services, said Darwin was given back to Crawford because he agreed to move out of the city.

“Where he is going to be moving, they don’t prohibit them there,” Smith said. “He is complying with city ordinances by removing Darwin from the city.”

Smith declined to comment on where Crawford had moved to. Crawford made at least three visits to the LMC and a handful of tear-filled phone calls requesting Darwin be returned to his custody, according to Jim Dunlap, curator at the LMC.

On one such visit, Dunlap said Crawford handed him a box of Darwin’s toys. Among those toys was an audio tape player with a recorded message from Crawford addressed to Darwin that was of a sexual nature, Dunlap said.

After listening to the tape, Dunlap said Crawford made references to Darwin and himself engaging in mutual stimulation.

Four animal services officers spent more than an hour Friday trying to coax Darwin into an animal carrier before finally tranquilizing the monkey.

“(Darwin) is very dangerous,” said Amy Early, one of the Plano Animal Services Officers who transported Darwin. “(Rhesus Macaque Monkeys) will go straight for your face and tear into you. They have the strength of six men and inch-and-a-half incisors.”

Crawford showed Dunlap the scars Darwin gave him when he first started making unannounced visits to the LMC two days after the monkey was confiscated, Dunlap said.

LMC staff were instructed to call the police when Crawford made his subsequent visits, Dunlap said.

The decision to return Darwin was not due to public pressure generated by media attention, Smith said.

Dunlap said he received hate mail, threatening e-mails and angry telephone calls from people who said Crawford should be allowed to keep the monkey.

The hazards of keeping a wild animal as a pet are two-fold, according to Dunlap.

“If you buy a wild animal, you are creating two problems,” Dunlap said. “One, it is a wild animal and two, you are making them unafraid of people.”

Story here.


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