Animal care: A woman battling the city of Galveston to choose a forever home for a monkey who wasn’t allowed on the island

GALVESTON, Texas (KTRK) — A woman asks and hopes the city of Galveston will allow her to choose a home for her former pet monkey that she and her son bought while on vacation.

Lilly is a 4-year-old capuchin monkey that Leigh Kuchera bought for her son after going through a tough time.

“I took him out of the country to Honduras on vacation to try to regroup,” Kuchera said. “He met capuchin monkeys and fell in love with them. And he said, ‘Can we have one please.'”

They didn’t live in Galveston at the time, but if a monkey named Lilly rings a bell, it’s because she escaped from their Galveston home during a burglary and went missing in January 2020.

Kuchera told ABC13 that’s when she found out it wasn’t legal to house the animal on the island. “We located her later that night and found out it wasn’t legal to have her here,” she said.

RELATED: Galveston monkey missing since burglary returned to owner unharmed

As a result, Lilly began living in Brazoria County immediately after that 2020 escape, Kuchera said.

Lilly returned to Galveston for three days in July as a temporary shelter while arrangements were made to take her to Huntsville, and that’s when she said animal control came in from force home and took the primate away.

Kuchera said she didn’t know how animal control knew about Lilly’s presence.

The city of Galveston said in a statement that the primate is still in its custody at Moody Gardens.

Additionally, part of this statement included the following:

“The Animal Services division remained willing to consider Ms. Kuchera’s placement options as long as those placements demonstrate an ability to provide humane, long-term care for the animal, which has a lifespan of over 30 years. “

And while Galveston says they have a place for Lilly on a ranch in Murchison, Texas, her owner says she wants to choose where her beloved primate will end up due to the complexity of capuchin monkeys.

“She’ll be stuck in a cage and never have any human interaction,” Kuchera said.

“They need it if they were raised by humans. They’re like human babies.”

She added that the city did not work with her to send the monkey where it deemed appropriate.

A court hearing related to that decision is scheduled for August 10, but Kuchera said she hopes it doesn’t have to come to that.

For updates, follow Chaz Miller on Facebook, Twitter and instagram.

Copyright © 2022 KTRK-TV. All rights reserved.

Boyd S. Abbott