[monkeywire] Poker-playing monkey part of lawsuit
carrie at stayfreemagazine.org
Sat Jan 10 11:54:08 EST 2004
Saturday, January 10, 2004
Poker-playing monkey part of lawsuit
By KEVIN MARTIN, SUN MEDIA
CALGARY -- Alberta multimillionaire Phil Sprung Sr. is suing fish and
wildlife officials for unlawfully seizing his poker-playing monkey
and three other unusual pets.
Sprung has filed a lawsuit against the province after the animals -
two monkeys, a moose and a raccoon - were taken from his ranch more
than two years ago and he was charged.
Last October, a judge ruled investigators used an illegally obtained
warrant and the Crown dropped four charges of unlawfully possessing
wildlife. Sprung's court action says he was entitled to possess the
two macaque monkeys (a male and a female) and the other two animals.
His lawyer on the Wildlife Act charges, Paul Brunnen, said yesterday
the pets were popular with the entire Sprung family.
And Tarzan, the male macaque, even played cards with Sprung and
others on the ranch along the Sheep River west of Okotoks, the lawyer
"I am told - and have seen pictures - that he would play poker,"
Brunnen said. "I don't know if he's any good at the game."
The moose, erroneously dubbed Murray by the family, was free to roam
but always returned to the homestead and was kept penned at night for
safety reasons, Brunnen said.
The animal has since been turned over to the Calgary Zoo, where it
was discovered Murray is a girl and is now known as Anne Murray.
"I think Murray has actually had a baby," Brunnen said.
"The grandkids would come and they'd feed the animals. Murray the
moose was a particular favourite."
The monkeys have been sent to Ontario, while Rascal the raccoon was
moved to an Olds game farm, but after being permanently caged died
within weeks, the lawyer said.
Civil lawyer Virginia May, who filed Sprung's lawsuit, said her
client would like to get his remaining pets back. She said Sprung has
reluctantly taken legal action against fish and wildlife, seeking
damages nearing $600,000 for wrongful detention, malicious
prosecution and other wrongful acts.
A statement of defence disputing the unproven facts in the lawsuit
has not yet been filed by government lawyers.
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