CREVE COEUR — The fate of three monkeys living in a Creve Coeur home will rest with the city’s court system, after some neighbors complained about potential danger from what the owner calls her emotional support/service animals.
During a City Council meeting on Monday , Ward 3 Councilwoman Charlotte D’Alfonso presented letters from two residents and added she’d heard from multiple other neighbors, of the eight-home Mosley Lane subdivision, about monkeys those residents called dangerous.
Police Chief Glenn Eidman said that owner Texanne McBride-Teahan received a citation on Sept. 9 for having three monkeys — a black-capped capuchin, a patas, and a bonnet macaque — at her rented home on Mosley. He said one city ordinance declares “non-human primates” to be “inherently dangerous.” Another ordinance prohibits anyone from keeping any exotic animal, including, but not limited to, those that have been declared to be inherently dangerous.
“This prohibits residents from having non-human primates in a home — because they can be inherently dangerous — and that law prevents anyone from keeping exotic animals deemed to be inherently dangerous,” Eidman said.
He said residents had contacted police about the monkeys in mid-August, and police gave her three weeks to remove the animals.
But McBride-Teahan, who spoke before the council that night, said the monkeys are her in-service animals.
“They are not dangerous and are trained — they have not set foot off my property,” she said, adding she’s had to retain an attorney to represent her.
“They are not roaming the streets or let out after dark. There has never been an incident, and they’ve lived here for years. People come to my home to learn about these primates and play with them.”
She said that, before she had moved into the home, she and her landlord had checked with the city and were told only chickens weren’t allowed at homes.
D’Alfonso countered that, “while she claimed she called the city and said the city told her only chickens weren’t allowed, that is incorrect — we do allow chickens, (and) a simple search on our city website using the word primate also pulls up the ordinance forbidding them.”
Brett Barton, also of Mosley Lane, later said that “by city statute, these monkeys are deemed dangerous animals, though the city and police haven’t removed them.”
He said he was pleased that police pledged to communicate with neighbors on what will happen regarding the city court case.
D’Alfonso said residents have told her the monkeys have been left untethered in their yard.
“Residents tell me they’re afraid to go out after dark,” she said, adding many children live in the area.
“If a monkey bites you, it can be fatal due to Hepatitis B carried by some of these animals. Research also shows monkeys can get aggressive after puberty and should be kept with their own kind.”
D’Alfonso said she felt monkeys are “inherently dangerous and shouldn’t be kept as pets or support animals.”
However, Ward 2 Councilman A. J. Wang — who represents the area where the subdivision is located — said he had visited the monkeys at their home.
“I’d like to talk to more people and see what they feel — I’m noncommittal on this and I’m open to consider all possibilities,” he said.
Also that night, Shelei Pan, a senior at Ladue Horton Watkins High School and a Creve Coeur resident, asked Mayor Barry Glantz and the City Council to consider her idea of creating a Mayor’s Youth Advisory Council for the city, to allow for her and her peers to directly present input on community issues.
She said the group could provide an opportunity for students to provide input on government policies that affect young people, create and recommend initiatives for and by youth, open a line of direct communication between youth and government officials, organize and participate in service learning projects that benefit residents, and promote and recognize the abilities, contributions and accomplishments of young people.
She suggested membership in the Council could include students from public and private high schools, as well as Glantz and city staff.
City Administrator Mark Perkins said the idea of getting youth more involved in the decision making process was something the Council previously discussed as part of their strategic plan work.
“It’s a great idea, and we’ll keep this moving forward,” Glantz said.