Never get in the way of a man and his monkey. That seems to be the lesson one man was trying to teach the justice system in the U.S.
But despite his best efforts, it didn't quite work.
When David Grigorian, a 43-year-old resident from Van Nuys, California, got a marmoset monkey as a pet a few years back, he quickly fell in love with the creature. But he didn't have a permit for the exotic animal and a court ordered him to get rid of it.
The controversy began last January when cops investigated Grigorian on an unrelated matter. After arriving at his home, they found the animal but not the permits he needed to keep it. He was ordered to get rid of it and promised he would.
But he considered "Cheeta" a member of the family and in the end couldn't bear to let him go.
He was supposed to give his best friend up to an animal reserve in Nevada. But then last May, cops stopped the unlucky owner on a routine traffic matter - and spotted the monkey sitting beside him in his car.
The reluctant man was hauled back into court, but he still wasn't done. On Wednesday, Grigorian brought "proof" he'd followed orders, telling the judge he'd sent his furry friend to live in Mexico. And he even displayed a picture of Cheeta standing beside a recently dated Mexican newspaper, with multi-coloured decorations in the background as proof.
But officials didn't buy it and demanded more evidence.
After hesitating for a while, Grigorian finally admitted he still had the beast and issued one last plea, telling authorities his kids were in love with the pet and couldn't bear to see it go.
A fed-up judge had finally heard enough and ordered the man handcuffed until he agreed to part with his beloved friend.
After a few hours in the cooler, Grigorian came back to court and agreed to hand over the monkey to local Fish and Game officials.
But unlike previous attempts, the courts aren't going to take his word for it. This time, they're giving him a week to carry out the sad parting and they're demanding real proof - or they'll put him behind bars again.