RSPCA: Shocking moment marmoset gets flushed down toilet
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Vicki Holland of Wordsworth Road, Newport, Gwent, shouted, swore and laughed at the helpless marmoset with video from the 38-year-old’s phone showing her offering the Class A drug. Further disturbing footage shows the petrified pet struggling to cling onto the sides of a toilet bowl.
Officers from Gwent Police uncovered videos of the abuse on Holland’s mobile.
She told the RSPCA that she had sold the marmoset a week before police carried out a warrant at an address in Newport.
The monkey was then found and taken into the animal charity’s care.
It is now being looked after by primate experts at Monkey World in Dorset.
Sophie Daniels, RSPCA inspector and exotics officer, speaking after sentencing, said: “I was immediately and gravely concerned about the welfare of this marmoset when I saw these disturbing videos.
“Videos from the defendant’s phone showed Holland offering the marmoset cocaine, while another showed the clearly terrified marmoset down a toilet bowl.
“Holland was shouting, swearing, laughing and at one point in the clip, the toilet is flushed, showing the petrified animal struggling to cling onto the side of the bowl.”
An independent vet confirmed that the marmoset had been suffering unnecessarily as a result of the way she had been treated.
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Ms Daniels said: “We’d like to thank Gwent Police for their assistance in this case, along with Monkey World who have provided a forever home for the marmoset. Thankfully, this monkey is now getting the care they deserve after such shocking mistreatment.”
Marmosets are the most common primates kept as pets.
However, the RSPCA opposes keeping primates as pets because it is so hard for owners to meet their complex needs.
Dr Ros Clubb, RSPCA senior scientific manager, said: “Sadly our inspectors see monkeys cooped up in bird cages, fed fast food and sugary drinks, deprived of friends of their own kind and suffering from disease as a result of poor care.
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“We fear many are suffering behind closed doors because people do not know how to look after these animals properly.”
Holland was banned from keeping all animals for life and handed a 12-week prison sentence suspended for 12 months, at Newport Magistrates’ Court on Friday.
She pleaded guilty on November 18 to three offences under the Animal Welfare Act.
The charges included failing to provide a suitable level of care to a marmoset, causing unecessary mental suffering to a marmoset and not taking such steps as were reasonable to ensure the needs of the animal were met.
Allowing the monkey to be terrified by a dog, offering the monkey an inappropriate substance and not feeding it properly were statements attached to the third charge.
She was ordered to pay £420 in costs and a £128 victim surcharge.
It is estimated that there are about 3,000 monkeys being kept as pets in the UK.
There are no restrictions on keeping monkeys as pets in England and Wales.
However, a bill is currently going through Parliament which if passed will introduce stringent licencing.
The sentencing came as an RSPCA campaign saw more than 12,000 people sending emails to the communications regulator Ofcom to complain about use of live animals on I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here!
RSPCA welfare experts say animals such as rats, lizards and snakes are likely to have been subject to stress while surrounded by screaming celebrities in confined spaces as part of bushtucker trials.
Dr Clubb said: “We continue to call on those behind this programme to update, re-think and modernise so we no longer put animals in these situations. The response to our campaign shows a huge number of people across the UK agree with us.”
ITV insists the show makes sure animal welfare law is complied with and that it follows rigorous production practices to ensure animals are handled safely before, during and after filming.
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