A North Gauteng High Court judge has urged the owners of a garden centre in Muldersdrift and the International Primate Rescue (IPR) organisation to try to find a “sensible solution” to the plight of the 49 monkeys rescued from the centre last month.
IPR obtained a magistrate’s court order to seize the primates, including exotic spider, capuchin and squirrel monkeys from the Little Falls Garden Nursery.
This followed the organisation receiving complaints from members of the public about the condition of the primates.
IPR founder Sue Mousley told The Citizen she had laid a charge of animal cruelty against centre manager Derek Fourie and owner Adelene Toxpeus.
The garden centre yesterday lodged an urgent application for the return of the monkeys, which the owner plans to sell and move to a Mpumalanga game reserve at Vaalwater.
But IPR submitted a counter-application for the monkeys to remain at their Pretoria sanctuary for the time being.
The matter is to be argued in court today, if the applicants are unable to reach a settlement. Counsel for the garden centre argued the monkeys were not better off where they now were, saying they were “not well-cared for” at IPR’s sanctuary.
It was argued the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals had previously inspected the monkeys and found nothing wrong with them, except that more protein had to be added to their diet.
The garden centre said IPR’s allegation of the monkeys being malnourished and dehydrated was not be true. It also said IPR had followed a “flawed process” to obtain possession of someone else’s primates.
But Judge Johan Louw asked whether the monkeys were wellcared for where they were, and if they should be moved at once to the game reserve in Mpumalanga, or back to Little Falls and then to the game reserve.
Counsel for IPR said the garden centre’s owner had the right to visit the monkeys, along with their own veterinary surgeon.