3 pet monkeys provide emotional support, woman says. A Missouri city wants them gone

A woman in Missouri says her three pet monkeys are trained and far from dangerous, but her neighbors still want them gone.

“I can’t say that I smell anything, I can’t say that I hear anything, what I can say is I see monkeys that are untethered and playing on cars and playing in the driveway and I have four children and that is unacceptable,” Carolyn Schurman told KMOX.

Schurman lives on the same street in Creve Coeur as Texanne McBride-Teahan, owner of three monkeys that she says are for emotional support, KMOX reported. They’re registered as service animals, KMOV reported.

They are not dangerous animals. They are trained. They assist me. I have PTSD because of something that happened to me, a very bad thing that happened to me a long time ago,” McBride-Teahan said, according to the news outlet.

Still, her neighbors say they fear for their safety, writing letters to city Councilwoman Charlotte D’Alfonso, which she presented to the council on Monday, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

Screen Shot 2019-09-15 at 10.19.13 AM.png
Texanne McBride-Teahan says her three monkeys are trained as her service animals, reports say. Screengrab: KMOV

“Residents tell me they’re afraid to go out after dark,” D’Alfonso said, according to the news outlet. “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.”

McBride-Teahan — who says she has lived with and trained monkeys for more than 20 years — says she’d been living in her new home for a month when a neighbor spotted a monkey outside and called the city, KMOV reported.

“It’s a wild animal. They belong in zoos, you know, or in their natural habitat,” neighbor Jim Hentschell said, according to the news outlet. “Everything I hear about emotional support animals, they only speak about cats and dogs.”

According to city ordinance, “non-human primates” are considered inherently dangerous animals. Another city ordinance prohibits the keeping of “exotic animals,” which are described as “any mammal not considered to be a member of the class generally referred to as domesticated animals.”

Residents contacted police about the monkeys in August, and McBride-Teahan was given three weeks to remove them, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

McBride-Teahan pleaded with the City Council, providing a note from her doctor stating that she had been prescribed to keep primates as a form of treatment, KMOV reported.

But some neighbors aren’t convinced.

“Yeah right, I was going to get my wife an emotional support python,” Hentschell said, according to KMOX.

The fate of the monkeys will be decided in court, and McBride-Teahan is set to appear in November, KMOV reported

Related stories from Kansas City Star

Dawson covers goings-on across the central region, from breaking to bizarre. She is an MSt candidate at the University of Cambridge and lives in Kansas City.