NEW ORLEANS – A woman who complained after monkeys she said she needed to keep her calm were taken from her was found guilty of cruelty to animals and not having a proper permit for a primate.
Joan Susanne Newberger, of Rio Hondo, Texas had her monkeys confiscated on Bourbon Street by Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries agents during Carnival season.
Newberger claimed the monkeys were ‘service animals’ that she needed to help her with reactions from her autism.
LDWF agents said Newberger and James Wells Poole of St. Augustine, Florida, were using the monkeys in a ‘street act’ when they were taken. Citations for cruelty animals and lack of a permit were issued at the time.
Judge Sean Early waived any fines for Newberger and Poole and ordered the monkeys forfeited to the state. The monkeys will be donated to the Louisiana Purchase Zoo and Gardens in Monroe, where they have been staying since they were confiscated.
Newberger’s defense had claimed that the Americans with Disabilities Act allowed the use of the animals.