Canada
Ikea monkey's owner in court

Yasmine Nakhuda, owner of the "IKEA" monkey leaves the Durham Region Courthouse on Thursday January 31, 2013.

Credits: Veronica Henri/Toronto Sun/QMI Agency

TERRY DAVIDSON | QMI AGENCY

OSHAWA, Ont.- The Ikea monkey's owner was in court again Thursday asking a judge to return Darwin to her until a trial can be held - possibly as long as three months from now.

The baby macaque garnered world-wide attention in early December when it was found in alone in an Ikea parking lot, dressed in a snazzy coat and a diaper.

Darwin has been kept at Story Book Farm primate sanctuary since being taken from the store parking lot by Toronto Animal Services after it escaped from Yasmin Nakhuda's parked car. Before that, it had been a pet in the Nakhuda household for several months.

It is illegal to keep such a pet in the City of Toronto.

Nakhuda's lawyer, Ted Charney, argued Darwin was loved and well taken care of by Nakhuda, but the bond between them will suffer "irreparable" harm should the monkey remain at the sanctuary until a trial.

He also challenged the sanctuary's claims that Darwin had been abused while in Nakhuda's care, pointing to testimony by animal services officers that Darwin showed no signs of abuse.

Story Book Farm lawyer Kevin Toyne pointed to video footage of Nakhuda giving Darwin a bath as an example of potential neglect.

In the video an almost unconscious Darwin is seen being bathed under a bathtub tap, Toyne said. He questioned how Nekhuda was able to get the uptight and aggressive monkey - who was known to bite everyone in the family - into such a state.

He also reported Darwin was overweight and lacked muscle mass and body hair when he first arrived.

Charney said Darwin has put on muscle and grown hair at the sanctuary because of the animal's natural growth process.

Charney said when Nakhuda went to animal services to get Darwin back on Dec. 9, she was "tricked" into signing a surrender form that transferred ownership of the animal to the municipal animal agency.

He suggested animal services officers abused their powers and were unaware that the city's bylaw didn't enable them to keep the monkey once Nakhuda showed up to claim it.

Toyne, however, said Nakhuda, a real estate lawyer for almost 20 years, knew what she was signing. He said Darwin is a "wild animal" that Nakhuda lost of after it had escaped from her car.

Justice Michael Brown is expected to make his decision Friday morning as to where Darwin lives during the run-up to the trial.

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