Last week, Bloomington Animal Care and Control received reports of two monkey sightings one day apart from each other.
On Wednesday, Sept. 8, animal control received multiple reports of a man riding on a scooter throughout the city with a monkey on his back. He was last seen heading north on Walnut Street. No other description was given for the individual.
On Thursday a man was reportedly seen with an untethered monkey in Bryan Park, according to a secondhand account of the sighting filed with animal control the following day. No one who directly witnessed this incident has contacted animal control.
Animal control personnel have not been able to identify anyone involved with the monkey or monkeys or to locate a monkey.
Virgil Sauder, director of Bloomington Animal Care and Control, said the agency has not determined whether the two sightings are linked or are completely separate. It is possible that both sightings were of the same animal, Sauder said.
Monkeys are not allowed as pets in Bloomington or Monroe County.
Animal control issued an extreme warning against approaching a monkey if one is seen in public. According to Sauder, there are safety concerns associated with the animal, including possible injury or disease transmission.
“A lot of people want to reach out and interact with the monkey and pet the monkey. We would definitely recommend not doing that,” Sauder told The Herald-Times. “Monkeys don’t always respond the best, and, unfortunately, there’s a lot of diseases that can be transmitted from monkeys to people via bites.”
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No one has reported any harm or injury associated with these sightings.
These aren’t the first monkey sightings in Bloomington.
“There’s been a few instances in the past. We’ve had a variety, over the last couple years, of sightings so likely there’s an individual that either lives part-time in this area or does live in this area,” Sauder said. “We haven’t been able to track down exactly where the individual’s at or if the individual’s visiting Bloomington from out of town.”
In similar situations, Sauder said animal control personnel typically speak to the owner to make them aware of the city’s ordinances against keeping certain animals as pets. The office then gives a deadline for the owner to rehome the animal.
In the past, the office has seized animals that have not been relocated or were not being properly cared for by the owner.
To report a sighting, contact Animal Care and Control at 812-349-3492. The office is open 8 a.m.-5 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday and 8 a.m.-6 p.m. on Tuesday and Friday. For after-hours emergencies, such as animal bites, call 812-339-1444.
Contact Rachel Smith at [email protected] or @RachelSmithNews on Twitter.