Monkeys are back; primates upset Greene County neighbors

EBENEZER, Mo. --  Having lived in northern Greene County for six years, Al Wagner is used to seeing a lot of animals native to the land.  Recently, though, he saw something that didn't fit in.

"I was up there cutting wood on my property and seen 'em over there," said Wagner.

Between the trees and in front of a pickup, Wagner spotted two caged monkeys.

This isn't the first time his neighbor's property housed primates and other animals.

The yard used to look like more like a zoo.  It belonged to the Rose family.  The siblings said they were running a not-for-profit animal sanctuary.

Two years ago, the animal shelter came to an end when Greene County commissioners told family members they couldn't obtain the permits necessary to run a sanctuary because the facility wasn't up to safety standards.
The neighbors were thrilled.  They had grown weary of always looking over their shoulders.

Wagner said, in the past, he saw the monkeys escape several times.  One of his neighbors even snapped a picture of a primate that wandered right up to his house.

The Greene County Sheriff's Department is now investigating the case.

"They're wild animals, they're caged, and that's not a good scenario if they get out," said Capt. Jim Farrell.

Officers believe the same family has returned with two of the monkeys.

"If it is the Rose family, there could be some criminal charges that they could be facing.  If it's not the Rose family, the folks could be facing some criminal charges," said Farrell.

Although only two primates have been spotted this time, Wagner says that's two too many.

"We have some young kids around the neighborhood here, little kids, that don't need that," said Wagner.

The Greene County Planning and Zoning is also working with the sheriff's department in the investigation.

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