April 18, 2014

Elyria
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Monkey that bit salesman euthanized

Brodi and owner Jacob Ruehlman. PHOTO PROVIDED

Brodi and owner Jacob Ruehlman. PHOTO PROVIDED

VERMILION — Every night, Brodi the spider monkey had a bottle of juice and a place to sleep in bed next to his owner, 20-year-old Jacob Ruehlman.

But Brodi was far from home Friday night.

After he bit a man at a Vermilion auto dealership Tuesday, the 2-year-old monkey was quarantined by police order at a house in Marysville.

About 8 p.m. Friday, representatives from The Ohio Department of Agriculture and the Union County Sheriff’s Office picked up Brodi and took him to Erie County, where he was euthanized by the Erie County Department of Health so he could be tested for rabies.

Ruehlman, of Vermilion, said he didn’t know about the death of the monkey he called his “best friend” until the next morning.

“All I do is (want to be) with Brodi,” Ruehlman said Saturday, after learning about Brodi’s death.

“I can’t even look in his room.”

The decision to euthanize Brodi came after an incident at Pat O’Brien Chevrolet on Tuesday, when Ruehlman and his brother took Brodi with them to the car dealership. The monkey remained in the car the entire time, but a dealership employee who was waiting on the brothers asked if Brodi was friendly and tried to pet him through the window, according to Ruehlman.

Brodi bit the man’s finger, drawing blood and sending the employee to the hospital, according to a police report.

Officers who responded to the scene told Ruehlman he had to quarantine the monkey for three days. They were later able to verify that the monkey had received a rabies vaccination in the spring of 2013 by a veterinarian in Missouri.

However, on Friday, Ruehlman’s life took a devastating turn when he was told that the Erie County Department of Health and the Department of Agriculture planned on euthanizing Brodi to check for rabies.

Erie County Health Commissioner Peter Schade, who said there is no rabies vaccination for monkeys, said the only way to check for rabies in primates is by analyzing them after they have died.

On Friday night, Brodi was picked up from where Ruehlman’s friend and fellow primate owner Diana Tanner was keeping him quarantined and taken to Erie County. He was euthanized at about midnight.

On Saturday, tests determined the monkey did not have rabies, according to Schade.

He said it was unfortunate that Brodi was euthanized, but he believes the county made the right decision.

“It’s a matter of time at this point,” Schade said, adding that the man who was bitten would have needed to get two rabies shots Tuesday if Brodi carried the disease.He said the man asked the Department of Health to test Brodi for rabies, and the department decided to do the testing as quickly as possible.

Ruehlman objected to the method used to test Brodi. He said he believes there are ways the Health Department could have checked for rabies other than killing Brodi.

“It’s like murdering a human,” he said.

Ruehlman, who raised the monkey from a young age, said Brodi was an enormous source of strength for him, especially when Ruehlman was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease two years ago and was told he wouldn’t live through surgery.

“He’s my best friend,” Ruehlman said, remembering how he found comfort in taking care of a young Brodi while he was going through surgery.

Since he first got Brodi more than two years ago, Ruehlman said he spends all of his time with the monkey, playing with him at the house, watching Netflix together before falling asleep and — Brodi’s favorite — giving the monkey a bath.

“He would spend so much time in the bath,” Ruehlman said.

Ruehlman added that in the past few months, his family had even been going through the process of applying for an exotic animal permit for Brodi.

Now, after Brodi’s death, Ruehlman wants one thing — to give his friend a proper burial.

“We would like to have Brodi’s remains,” he said.

Contact Anna Merriman at 329-7245 or amerriman@chroniclet.com. Follow her on Twitter at @AnnaLMerriman.

  • Larry Crnobrnja

    WTF! If they had determined the monkey had its rabies vaccination, why would they put it down. What gives Peter Schade the right to kill a living being?

  • Razorback Twou

    This is horrible! Would they treat your dog or cat this way? Why act like stormtroopers to get the monkey? Bad Karma here.

  • Sharktooth Martin

    Should have put the owner down too…he’s the idiot who took the monkey into a public place. Monkeys bite and are very dangerous. Why would you take a monkey to a car dealership anyway?

  • oldruss

    Even though it was verified that Brodi, the spider monkey, had had its rabies vaccinations, that wasn’t good enough for the Ohio Dept. of Agriculture and the Erie County Health Dept.

    According to the ASPCA, there is no test that can be given to any live animal (DOG, CAT) that can diagnose rabies. http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/dog-care/rabies That being the case, put down every dog or cat that bites a human, too. Brodi should not have been singled out by the authorities in this way. This was cruel and retributive.

  • Jamie Smith

    WOW…How SAD for the Monkey !!! He didn’t ask to be taken to the dealership and the DUMBASS employee asked to pet him through a car window. The Monkey was scared obviously. SHAME on this employee for demanding the animal be put down and Peter Schade doing so. The Employee could’ve done the series of shots if he was so scared and saved the monkeys life. I hope Pat O’Brien fires this man as I wouldn’t buy a car from them if he is still employed there. Wild animals are called WILD for a reason and we need to respect that when ***holes try to make them domestic Pets. Poor Monkey !!

    • buckeye15

      Yes this is sad for them monkey. You admit the owner is an ***hole and the animal is wild, but yet you want to blame the dealership employee? Your anger is misplaced.

      Did the owner have his monkey registered and microchipped as required by Ohio law? Did he have his shelter permit, and liability insurance? Did he have the transporting vehicle clearly marked that a dangerous wild animal (DWA) is inside, again as mandated by Ohio law?

      This entire incident is entirely on the head of the monkey owner, including the monkey being put down.

      • Nick Noneya

        Your points are all valid, but it was the employee who requested the test!

      • John Davidson

        As you said. It is a wild animal. Why wasn’t it left in the wild. Would probably still be alive and with it’s real family.

      • Jacob

        Yes I did apply for my shelter permit, yes I have liability insurance, I applied for my permit in November!!!! this is not mentioned that NO permits were even given out yet!!! not one! we have no permits to even violate!

        • buckeye15

          My understanding is that most permit applications have been approved in 30 days or less, if the applicant has met all qualifications. So I ask you…why has your application not been approved? What have you not done…microchip, payment, etc.?

          Regardless of not having a permit to violate, you were in violation of many points of the law. Did you read the part of the application that stated the conditions for transporting your animal in a vehicle? Or the part about keeping the public away from the animal?

          I really feel sad for Brodi, and I almost feel sorry for your loss, but it was your actions that caused the death of this animal, and I hope you never again try to tame a dangerous wild animal.

    • red99cav

      I am a co-worker of the gentleman who was bit, and, I take offense to you calling him names, when it WASN’T his fault he was bit! He deserves an apology!

      • ThatGuy

        Your co-worker is a pansy! As if killing someones best friend isn’t enough I am sure he will seek some sort of retribution for the bite seeing how he is a car salesman! Get a real job! I am sure karma will get him, maybe an animal he loves will bite someone? Who knows. i live here in vermilion and if I see the car salesman I will be sure to tell him all of this myself!

        • John Davidson

          What would you have done if you or one of your family members was bitten? Are you sure the person bitten was a salesman?

        • red99cav

          How do you know who he is?

  • Stan K

    Thank god, now lets move on and quit wasting our time on monkey business.

  • michelle

    Another animal victim of Mans’ folly.

  • Krista Miller

    This is just soo wrong. First why aren’t they fining the owner for taking the exotic animal into public. Second why on earth would you stick your hand in a car to pet any animal let alone a non-domestic one! Stupidity on both sides.

  • Bob Sweatt

    Here we go again. All of you animal lovers caring more about an animal then the human.

    You all make me sick. There is no one to blame but the monkey’s owner. So deal with it.

  • Deirdre Kewer Herbert

    The attention the owner of this monkey is getting for the death of his monkey is incomprehensible considering the lengths this man has gone to avoid the exotic animal bill which was signed into law.
    The owner of this monkey reached out to another sympathetic exotic animal owner in another state using the law here in Ohio as a tool of manipulation. Jacob (the owner of Brodi the monkey) traveled to Nebraska with his monkey most likely in tow and lived with this woman with free rent for several months. Jacob then left her home and then returned shortly after to steal her 2 Gibbon monkeys which he then traveled through several states transporting 3 monkeys most likely illegally. Jacob gets stopped in Florida and is found to be transporting not only his monkey but the 2 Gibbon monkeys he had stolen and had them confiscated and placed in a shelter.
    Jacob was then allowed to have his monkey Brodi back in his possession because the shelter felt it was to traumatizing to Brodi to be separated from his owner. Meanwhile the poor sympathetic woman in Nebraska has to come up with the money and proper means of transportation to pick up her 2 stolen Gibbon monkeys. I wonder if she has them back home in Nebraska today or are the Gibbons still in Florida due to red tape.
    Jacob and his monkey Brodi return back to Ohio where Jacob states he filed an application for a permit with the ODNR back in October. Jacob resumes life in Ohio with his monkey taking Brodi everywhere he goes as pointed out by a woman on facebook who posted that Brodi was in her hair salon.
    Unfortunatley, Jacob was unable to comply with the law here in Ohio and took his monkey to a car dealership with his brother to pick up his car where Brodi grabs the attention of a worker who asks to pet the monkey and the monkey bites the worker.
    Jacob has proof that his monkey was recently updated with a rabies vaccination this past spring but yet Jacob has also exposed his monkey to other primates in his journey to avoid the law here in Ohio since Brodi’s recent vaccination this past spring.
    Ultimately Jacob’s behavior has led to the unfortunate death of his beloved pet monkey and no one else.
    I personally feel very sad that Brodi’s life was short lived and would have wished for a different outcome for Brodi. Brodi, throughout his short life acted as an animal would due to natural instincts, but Jacob was the person in charge of insuring Brodi’s welfare and the regulations associated with exotic animal ownership here in Ohio.

    • Megan

      it’s not Jacob fault, him “stealing the other monkeys” really has nothing to do with the fact he lost his BELOVED pet. Are you mad because he has support from family friends and follow animal lovers? sounds like it!

      • Deirdre Kewer Herbert

        My first attempt to respond did not go through…….
        Megan, I am not mad that Jacob has family and friends that offer him support in person, online, through online petitions, or any other means. I would hope that Jacob has a healthy support system that can help him deal with his grief over losing his beloved pet monkey. I mean that with sincerity.
        What I do mind is how he is using the media to garner sympathy for his own thoughtless care and misconduct related to the law and his ownership responsibilities according to the law here in Ohio. Since the introduction of the possibility of this law in 2010 many exotic animal owners have been very informed of the pending legislation and law going into effect. In fact Jacob originally filed for a permit to register his exotic animal in 2012 according to a news article in The Chronicle Telegram. Since then Jacob left Ohio with his monkey and managed to find himself in more trouble related to exotic animals in another state. Jacob moved back to Ohio with Brodi and most likely had to re-file another permit to the ODNR.
        Whether Jacob had his permit approved already or not does not make him not culpable or responsible for the outlined mandates required of all exotic animal owners who own animals included in the law. Jacob is ultimately responsible for the outcome of Brodi’s demise……..not the employee of the car dealership, not the Erie County Health Department, and not the State of Ohio.
        I feel that if the media most continue to provide coverage of this story then the citizens need to understand all aspects leading up to Brodi’s fatal demise so as to not garner one sided sympathy to Jacob and exotic animal owners who break the law.

        • Megan

          No, you sound like you are just mad and jealous that he has so much support. He deserves every ounce of support from the media in this situation because anyone with a good soul would know that is it wrong. Do you know the difference between what is morally wrong and morally right. yes the law is the law and whatever but in some situations people should use their heads and think about what is morally wrong and right. Do you think Jacob wants this this type of attention? Don’t you think he rather be at home with his pet right now ? no He has to deal with everything, including RUDE AND HEARTLESS PEOPLE LIKE YOU throwing in their pointless two cents that no one cares about. It blows my mind that you can even say the things that you said about this situation. Maybe your brain should be removed and examine like that poor innocent monkey , with the real people who are responsible for his death because your thoughts blow me away

          • Deirdre Kewer Herbert

            Megan, I am not writing my comments for Jacob but for the people who reads an article without knowing the details that led to the final decision to have Brodi tested ultimately resulting in Brodi’s death.
            I assure you that I am not rude and heartless, but that is an opinion you formed from your experiences and personal relationship with Jacob. When a subject matter is published for all to read or watch people will have opinions that may not be to your liking. I feel that there is an obligation to put all the information out there so that a person can make an informed decision/opinion.
            I personally was very involved with journey of the exotic animal law even before the Zanesville incident. I may not be an expert on exotic animals but I do have first hand experience with believing in something and following it through. I stated that I am truly sorry for the outcome of Brodi’s death. I also feel empathy for the grief that Jacob is going to experience.
            I will not sit quietly though while Brodi’s death is used as a means to seek sympathy for an exotic animal owners who choose to not follow the law or feel that the law and its criteria is not to be taken seriously when owning and caring for an exotic animal.

  • Pitiful Penance

    How exactly would any animal that lives INDOORS contract rabies? Especially one that was vaccinated? And if you were worried that an animal COULD be rabid… WHY ON EARTH WOULD YOU TRY TO PET IT? This was so wrong. I feel so bad for the owners.

    • Lou White

      This. It isn’t as if the monkey roams around outside like a cat or dog. Seriously, the chances of that monkey having rabies are zero to none.

  • Sandee Kirkwood

    Hmmmmmm If Counties Could Only Act On pedifiles pedifiles as fast

  • Jack White

    Love the boohoos for the MONKEY Ahahha it’s a dam* wild animal. What about the HUMAN that was bit by the wild animal?
    People have their priorities so skewed it is a sad state of our society.
    I hope everyone one of you are vegetarian so as not to harm the cows pigs chicken and fish…

  • RealName RealnameToo

    This is another example of how ridiculous the rabies laws are in this
    country. Animals with rabies, never get in a car and act normal with
    their owner. That’s not how rabies presents itself. If this monkee
    had rabies, the owner would have been the first victim. An idiot could
    figure that out, but there is no incentive for public health officials
    to use their brains in these matters.

    This animal died because
    everyone mentioned was so busy making sure to cover their butt that that
    there was no one in the story willing to use their common sense and
    think before acting.

    Unless other species learn to speak and organize themselves, humans will continue to abuse them for no apparent reason.

    Bill Zardus

    Delaware County, PA
    http://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/Rabies-Information/info