Ikea monkey: Story Book Farm claims owners abused Darwin
Story Book Farm alleges Darwin the monkey endured months of physical abuse at the hands of its owners.
After being obtained from an illegal exotic animal dealer for $10,000, Story Book Farm alleges Darwin the monkey endured months of physical abuse at the hands of its owners, including strangulation and beatings with a wooden spoon.
However, the lawyer for Yasmin Nakhuda said there is no evidence of abuse against Darwin, and the sanctuary is taking normal handling and training of a pet and twisting it into abuse.
“The defendants, in our opinions, have twisted the facts in the most sinister way imaginable so as to shock the public and discredit Yasmin,” Ted Charney told the Star late Saturday.
Lawyers for the Sunderland, Ont. sanctuary filed a statement of defence Thursday against Nakhuda, the Toronto woman fighting to get Darwin, the Japanese macaque, back.
The mention of Nakhuda’s children as alleged abusers in the document, Charney said, is done so in an effort to get her drop her claim. “Unfortunately, there are no rules preventing to say whatever they want, no matter how ridiculous,” he added.
The monkey has been in the care of the sanctuary since Toronto Animal Services took possession of it on Dec. 9.
None of the allegations have yet to be proven in court. However, the eight-page document’s allegations purport to shed light on how Nakhuda came to possess Darwin.
The statement asserts that Nakhuda, introduced to an illegal exotic animal dealer in Montreal last summer, said she was interested in obtaining a Japanese macaque such as Darwin, because of a YouTube video she saw, in which a tavern owner in Japan trained the monkeys to be servers.
Balking at the $10,000 price, the document claims, she allegedly took possession for a few days to see what it would be like to own a monkey — with the option to return Darwin. It also gave her time to secure the large sum of cash to complete the purchase.
READ MORE: Ikea monkey Darwin
The statement of defence alleges that Nakhuda’s first few days of ownership didn’t go well, and Nakhuda wanted to return Darwin to the dealer. It’s further claimed that the dealer came to Nakhuda’s home to teach her how to “physically abuse Darwin to ensure that he compiled with her wishes.”
Once she learned this, the document alleges she decided to keep the monkey and paid the Montreal-based dealer, whose identity has not been revealed by Nakhuda, according to the sanctuary.
The statement of defence suggests that in the months after the purchase leading up to his December escape from a dog crate at the North York Ikea , Nakhuda, her husband and two kids abused the pint-sized primate. The alleged abuse includes strangulation, striking Darwin in the face and head and hitting him with a wooden spoon; forcing Darwin to live in a small dog crate; not changing his diaper for up to three days; failing to provide veterinary care and proper food; and permitting other family members to physically abuse Darwin.
The claim argues that a wild animal is owned by whoever is in possession of it, a legal defence called ferae naturae — making the sanctuary Darwin’s legal owner.
However, Nakhuda argues in her own statement of claim that she gave up Darwin to Toronto Animal Services because she was threatened with criminal charges and animal services unlawfully detained Darwin.
The sanctuary denies these allegations. The faux shearling coat-wearing monkey gained international attention late last year when he was found roaming the parking lot of a North York Ikea on Dec. 9.
The case is expected back in court later this month.