A Missouri woman is fighting a city law that would bar her from keeping her pet monkeys as “emotional support animals.”
Texanne McBride-Teahan, who lives in Creve Coeur and suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, lives with three registered emotional support animals to help her cope with her disorder, KMOV reported.
But one of her neighbors disagreed, reporting her to the city after seeing one of the monkeys outside.
“It’s a wild animal. They belong in zoos, you know, or in their natural habitat,” said Jim Hentschell, who lives next door to McBride-Teahan. “I believe in the rule of law. If they are considered a dangerous animal and can carry something as nasty as hepatitis, they shouldn’t be here.”
The neighbors were so concerned about the monkeys that they brought up the issue at a city council meeting, putting McBride-Teahan in a position to defend her pets as “emotional support animals.”
“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 at a city council meeting.
McBride-Teahan added that she had experience living and training with monkeys for 20 years, and her doctor provided a note saying the animals are prescribed as “emotional support animals.”
“It is my professional opinion that the presence of these animals is a necessary treatment for the mental health of Ms. McBride-Teahan,” read the note in part.
Creve Coeur officials cited McBride-Teahan because the city code says “non-human primates” are “inherently dangerous animals” such as lions and pythons and should not be allowed in residential areas.
A judge will rule on the monkeys’ fate at a court hearing in November.
According to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), emotional support animals are not like service animals.
These animals provide comfort but “because they have not been trained to perform a specific job or task, they do not qualify as service animals under the ADA,” a Justice Department webpage explaining the ADA states.