July 22, 2014

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Spider monkey death gains international attention

Jacob Ruehlman and Brodi. PHOTO PROVIDED

Jacob Ruehlman
and Brodi. PHOTO PROVIDED

VERMILION — An incident in which a spider monkey bit the thumb of a curious stranger last week and was euthanized just after midnight Saturday because of the bite has gained international attention.

“The entire primate community is enraged,” Dr. Deborah Misotti said. Misotti is director of the Talkin’ Monkey Project, a primate sanctuary in Florida. She said she has spent the weekend talking to other primate- and primate-sanctuary owners across the world about the case of the euthanized monkey.

The attention was sparked by the incident Tuesday in which Jacob Ruehlman, 20, of Vermilion, brought his pet spider monkey Brodi along with him to Pat O’Brien Chevrolet, 4545 Liberty Ave., Vermilion.

An employee at the dealership attempted to pet Brodi through a window of the car and was bitten on the thumb by the monkey, according to a police report. The bite drew blood, and the employee drove himself to the hospital.

Ruehlman told police Brodi had received rabies vaccinations in Missouri a year earlier, which was later verified by police. Police indicated the monkey needed to be quarantined for three days.

However, the Erie County Department of Health and the Ohio Department of Agriculture decided to euthanize Brodi in order to check for rabies, according to Erie County Health Commissioner Peter Schade.

On Friday night, representatives from the Ohio Department of Agriculture and officers from the Union County Sheriff’s Office picked up the spider monkey in Marysville, where he was being quarantined at the home of a friend of Ruehlman’s. They brought the monkey back to Erie County, where he was euthanized just after midnight.

Tests done Saturday showed that Brodi did not have rabies, according to Schade.

The decision to euthanize the monkey sparked outrage in the primate-owner community, which spans the globe, according to Misotti.

Misotti said she spent much of Friday and Saturday discussing the issue with members of the community from Peru, Guatamala, India and Germany, to name a few.

One of the women she’s discussed the issue with is humanitarian and primate-advocate Noga Shanee, who lives and works in Peru.

“She couldn’t even respond,” Misotti said of the moment she told Shanee that Brodi had been euthanized.

Misotti said she plans to bring up the incident for discussion at a primate owner and advocate meeting in April.

For now, many members of the primate-support community are still in shock, believing that the Erie County Health Department could have taken other actions to deal with the situation.

“There was absolutely no reason for them to kill this monkey,” said Kari Bagnall, director of Jungle Friends, another primate sanctuary in Florida.

North Carolina Zoo veterinarian Ryan DeVoe doesn’t agree. DeVoe said that because researchers have not extensively tested rabies vaccines on monkeys, they are unable to tell if a rabies vaccine will be completely effective on a non-human primate. So far, the only way to test if a monkey that is infected with the disease is through a post-mortem analysis of its brain tissue, he said.

“A risk does exist, and there’s no way to negate that risk, short of to euthanize the animal,” he said.

Misotti and other members of the primate-support community expressed regret that the monkey was brought into a situation in which an incident of biting could result.

According to police, Ruehlman does not have a permit to possess an exotic animal. Ruehlman has said he was in the process of obtaining the permit and pursuing co-ownership of the monkey with a woman in Marysville, but exactly who has ownership of the monkey is unclear.

Ruehlman was arrested in September in Lee County, Fla., in connection with the theft of two gibbons. Those charges are still pending.

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

  • oldruss

    “‘The entire primate community is enraged,’ Dr. Deborah Misotti said.”
    As I posted on an earlier article, the Ohio Dept. of Agriculture, the Erie County Health Dept., and Erie County Health Commissioner Peter Schade acted cruelly and retributively. It appears that Dr. Misotti, and others, who are quoted in this article, share those sentiments.

    • Joe Smith

      Were they so mad they were throwing feces?

    • MonkeyMan2014

      I got bit by a mouse, when I was about 12 year old, while playing with friends in newly laid down grass. My Mother was concerned and did take me to the doctor that day, but nothing was done about it. Obviously there wasn’t much concern or care for me back then. Vets know dam well that primates are not imported anymore and haven’t been for years. Also, Vets should have some sort of knowledge when it comes to primates and Hepatitis’s B, not rabies! The individuals who authorized this euthanizing and carried it out, will have to answer at some peoint to someone high in life then they are. They will live their life out, until they pass, knowing that they caused this, unprofessional, medical, and completely disastrous loss, without regards to the primates life…Remember and understand this….The monkey, has much of our own DNA in him, at his age, he was as smart as a 4 year old child! I stand by myself and the comment I am going to make… I know for a fact that this little monkey knew something happened, something bad and that he caused it, and I am sure, so very sure, he was more awear than we credited him, of a soon to come change for him. They are not stupid, they are as smart as a 4 year old child. A 4 year old child understands wrong doing.
      This has to be the most IGNORANT and ARROGANT display of power and authority I have heard of recently. The vet that advised the authorities that testing this primate for rabies clearly has the IQ of a Tic-Tac, and should have their vet lic taken away permanently.

  • stargazer2012

    If I were the car salesman, I’d lay low. He’s the one who wanted it tested for rabies even though it had just been inoculated a year prior. He must have been told that the monkey would have to be euthanized in order to test for rabies.

    • Bob Sweatt

      So are you blaming the salesman for the monkey’s death??

      You are not holding the owner accountable??

      • Pablo Jones

        Did the owner tell the sales guy to reach into the car to pet the monkey? If so the owner is fully responsible. If the sales guy did it quickly on his own without asking then it is his fault. If the owner knew the money doesn’t like new people and has tried to bite people in the past then he shouldn’t have brought it out.

        If there were a dog in the car and a person went up and tried to pet the dog and got bit would you blame the owner that kept the dog in the car or would you blame the guy that went up and tried to pet a strange dog.

        But this may have an affect on car sales. Wild or not people see the cute little things with little tiny fingers and they don’t want anything bad to happen to them. They could blame the dealership for that and take business elsewhere.

        • Dee Davison

          The man that reached into the vehicle with the intent to pet the monkey, is at fault.

        • HankKwah

          According to Vermilion police, an employee at the dealership who was helping the brothers asked if he could pet Brody.

          When he did, the monkey bit him on the thumb, drawing blood and sending the employee to Mercy Regional Medical Center in Lorain.

          http://chronicle.northcoastnow.com/2014/01/17/spider-monkey-owners-unusual-odyssey-car-dealership-incident/

          • YeahOkay

            Actually, I believe someone that was there commented that the owner did not give permission to pet the monkey.

            On numerous reports, it was stated that Jacob said that the monkey was freaked out.

            However, since this information was omitted from this more-recent article, the facts could have been too unclear.

            I have pet this particular monkey before, and the owner usually has people pet it in an area where they could not be bitten, so I really don’t know.

          • beety

            Which “area” does this particular monkey prefer?

          • HankKwah

            If you find something definite out, post it here.

      • HaveYourCake

        If somebody sticks their hand into your car, and your dog bites them, is it the dog’s fault, your fault, or the moron who stuck their hand in the car?

        • Bob Sweatt

          The salesman was told it was OK to pet the monkey. Apparently it wasn’t OK. So it is the owners fault.

    • HankKwah

      However, the Erie County Department of Health and the Ohio Department of Agriculture decided to euthanize Brodi in order to check for rabies,

      I don’t see where the car salesman had any input on the issue. And a lot of folks, as can be seen from the article, seem to be VERY supportive of people having certain types of monkeys as pets. The “owner” seems to be suspect in certain areas, since he had issues with the “theft” of two gibbons, does not have a permit to possess an exotic animal, and was still in the process of pursuing “co-ownership” of the monkey.

    • red99cav

      It wasn’t a salesman, that’s all I can say.

      • Christopher Carter

        You are very right they got that one wrong. It was not the salesman. There is so much more to this.

  • stillsleepyeyes

    This story keeps going and going……..it seems now that he is a co owner of this monkey? or did he steal this one too………………hmmmmm………

    • oldruss

      Before you make libelous statements, you might want to check your facts. The stories in the Chronicle-Telegram have stated that police verified that a bona fide sale of Brodi took place in Missouri, where Brodi also had all of his vaccinations.

      • stillsleepyeyes

        ok and if you page up two the second paragraph before the end of this story you can read for yourself that the ownership is unclear…………….you must read the entire story…………not just parts………………

      • stillsleepyeyes

        According to police, Ruehlman does not have a permit to possess an exotic animal. Ruehlman has said he was in the process of obtaining the permit and pursuing co-ownership of the monkey with a woman in Marysville, but exactly who has ownership of the monkey is unclear………………………..just in case you couldn’t find it

      • Joe Smith

        A statement would have to be claimed to be a fact to be libelous and since he is asking a question he is not being libelous.

    • TBRC

      You’re an idiot!

      • stillsleepyeyes

        And your a monkeys uncle……………

  • buckeye15

    “The entire primate community is enraged,” Dr. Deborah Misotti said.

    First off, I hope she meant outraged, because enraged would indicate they are about to take out their anger on someone.

    Secondly, I hope the primate community’s enragement is directed at this irresponsible monkey owner. From various other articles on this case, it has been stated that he (and his brother) stole 2 gibbons from a woman in Nebraska, and transported them to Florida. Again from another article, the woman in Nebraska had warned him not to take that monkey out in public, because it was a matter of when, not if that he would have an incident like this. Mr. Ruehlman was not only very irresponsible as a dangerous wild animal (DWA) owner, he was in violation of many provisions of the Ohio law on DWA’s.

    If the primate community really believes that people should have a right to try to “own” DWA’s, then they should direct their anger into constructively teaching potential owners on how to be responsible, and keep from getting their animals put down.

    • Bob Sweatt

      Oh now all that is silly. Why blame the blamable (if that is a word). LOL.

      All this misdirected anger it laughable. Hold the right people accountable and stop blaming the victim.

      All these comments make me realize why people aren’t held accountable for what they do. Everyone wants to put the blame on the victim. Makes me sick.

      But you make sense and that is very hard to find in these comments.

  • Michael A. Figueroa

    Didn’t they know that they were going to shock the monkey?

    • HankKwah

      I’m calling Peter Gabriel on you. :)

  • AllanJones

    THE DUMMY CAR SALESPERSON SHOULD BE FIRED FOR HIS STUPID ACT… I FOR ONE WILL ADVOID THE DEALERSHIP AT ALL COSTS……

    • Bob Sweatt

      You are about a moron.

      • TBRC

        Bob you’re the moron! You don’t know anything about any of this. You don’t know the people directly or anything that really happened. You’re reading the news. I’m sure they’re always right aren’t they? Now move out of your moms basement and get a real life instead of always commenting on stuff you know absolutely nothing about!

        • Bob Sweatt

          That made me laugh. Falling back on the old “move out of your mom’s basement”, that clever and original. Did it take you all night to come up with that??

        • Bob Sweatt

          BTW It is just a stupid monkey. But hey let’s care more about an animal then people.

          It’s people like you that make me sick. And if you are going to insult me. Be a man and use your real name don’t hide behind four letters.

          • AllanJones

            wanker, from allan jones

          • Bob Sweatt

            I see you learned how to turn off you CAP lock. Good on you.

            Wanker. What are you British??

          • AllanJones

            ‘good on you’……what kind of English is that……not sweat I am not british but irish American, but you are still an illiterate wanker……piss off….

          • Bob Sweatt

            Is it hard to type with the glare coming off the jar on your head?? Just wondering.

            Good on you. Well that is something my Irish mother always says. So I thought you being Irish you would know that.

            As for the illiterate thing. I was beginning to wonder that about you. Since you kept typing in all caps.

            But you seem to have a WARPED since of reality. I mean since you think the salesman should be fired for being bitten by this monkey.

            So really what I am saying in a long round-about way is. I could give two turds what you think of me. You can be anger at the wrong person all you want. It’s fine with me. But I call them like I see them. And you sir are a total moron.

            Piss as tú wanker (if you are Irish you will know what that means)

        • Bob Sweatt

          BTW does TBRC stand for Troll Bitches Retard Club??

  • AllanJones

    REMIND ME TO STAY OUT OF ERIE COUNTY…..HEALTH OFFICIALS THERE BORDER ON THE CRIMINALLY INSANE…..I AM STUCK WITH OHIO STATE OFFICIALS WHO I ALSO BELIEVE ACTED IRRESPONSIBLY…….

    • Joe Smith

      Insane people yell all the time…..lol

      • AllanJones

        I HOPE YOU RECOVER SOON…..MY THOUGHTS AND PRAYERS ARE WITH YOU…..

      • Simon Jester

        Maybe he thinks he’s a Drill Instructor. lol.

  • twocents

    It’s my understanding that rabies kills spider monkeys in just a few weeks’ time. So, effectively vaccinated or not, the health department and the victim seem to be suggesting that this INDOOR PET had a reasonable chance of having been exposed to a rabid creature writhin the past week or two. Right…

    There happens to be a safe and extremely effective vaccine for humans who are concerned (or paranoid) that they may have been exposed to rabies. Owners could have footed the bill, kept the monkey in quarantine for a few weeks… nobody had to die.

    • Bonnie Pickett

      I’m sure if the person that was bitten had to undergo rabies shots, the owner paying for those shots would not have made a difference. If I’m correct, I think the rabies shots are quite painful. What a shame that children being killed don’t get as much headlines as this monkey and his irresponsible owner.

      • twocents

        Considering the practical impossibility of rabies in this case, the man could have pretty safely avoided the shots without any testing. If he was really so nervous about it, though, he could have gotten the vaccine. That’s what it’s for.

        Monkeys are also killed every day without headlines, but this story is special. It’s the story of authorities coming in and doing something tragically irreversible before anyone had a chance to appeal. It speaks to pet owners, and to some extent parents, who worry how little power they might have to protect their own if something crazy happened and some department came after them.

        Murder, at the very least, can end with the deranged criminal behind bars. Death by authorities leaves a pit in the stomach and a need to read more.

  • Phil Blank

    I really doubt this gained “international attention”.
    If it did, where are the news links, cause I find none!

    • It has to stop

      Phil you might want to try a different search engine or modify your search query. It definitely has went international.

      • Zen Grouch

        I see where some news outlets as far away as KENTUCKY picked up the story!!!

        • It has to stop

          I know. London Kentucky had one.

    • TBRC

      Because you’re illiterate apparently!

      • Bob Sweatt

        Oh I get it. You are a troll.

  • banshee70

    If I were as cruel as the Erie County Health Department, I would recommend taking one of each employees beloved pets and chopping their heads off to test for rabies to show them how it feels. However, I am not that cruel. I am outraged though, that there was PROOF that Brodi was vaccinated, and they MURDERED him anyways. This sickens me to no end, and I hope Karma bites whoever ordered this in the behind in a BIG way.

  • Don Grantzki

    Come on, people! If you take your car to a dealer for service, you leave your Dog at home.

    Why would anybody think differently about their monkey?
    Charges involving two gibbons? I’d be concerned with getting bit by the monkey owner.

    • Bob Sweatt

      Stop making sense. You will confuse them. LOL

    • Christopher Carter

      I think there both stupid as hell. One brings a monkey to a car dealer ship and one wants to pet this animal. If you have ever seen one they are hyper as hell and very skittish.

  • Gun toting cracker

    Years ago, my neighbor was bit by my Shepherd. There was no rush to euthanize my dog, he was up to date on his shots too. What is different here?

    IMO, the employee took his chances sticking his hand where it doesn’t belong. All animals, even pets have their moments, this is no secret.

    If the employee was so worried, he should of taken the vaccine and learned from his mistake. Brodi did nothing unusual.

    I will not be purchasing a vehicle at Pat O’Brien’s in Vermilion any time soon.

    Erie County Health and Ohio Dept.of Agriculture need to ERROR on the side of caution.

    Just another opinion….

  • Zen Grouch

    **The decision to euthanize the monkey sparked outrage in the
    primate-owner community, which spans the globe, according to Misotti.

    Misotti said she spent much of Friday and Saturday discussing the
    issue with members of the community from Peru, Guatamala, India and
    Germany, to name a few.**

    REALLY… WOW!!! The monkey community is enraged?!

    …no wait, what I meant to say was, …so what?

    • Bonnie Pickett

      I’m impressed that the lady can speak so many foreign languages, but maybe primate owners have their own special language. lol

  • ken menefee

    So, let me guess. Just like the feral cat story from N.Ridgeville, this will be front page news at the Chronicle every day until someone is fired and/ or is crucified in the court of public opinion. Yesterday in the U.S., 3000 babies were murdered. Today, 3000 more are being murdered. And tomorrow, 3000 more will be murdered. Yet this is not front page news. Heck, according to the Chronicle and other so-called news outlets, it’s not newsworthy at all. Unbelievable.

  • beety

    The real lesson here is never pet a man’ s monkey in public even if he tells you it’s okay… sorry had to do it!

    • Razorback Twou

      And a smart monkey won’t monkey with another monkey’s monkey.

  • Jack White

    I am baffled by all this uproar over a monkey. I hope all you uneducated folk sitting in your dark room alone have a family member bit by an animal someday. I pray they GET rabies and have to go through the ordeal , even better I hope it is a child of yours and you have to watch.
    It is a dam* MONKEY!!! Was not legally purchased obviously and with the record of the owner – deserved what he received. Next time I go pick up my car I think I’ll take my lion and my python and see what happens. I shouldn’t be at fault , right?
    Please quit blaming the VICTIM and the dealer and take some accountability for your actions. Unfortunately by the previous escapades of these two, they don’t know what word means…

    • Zen Grouch

      **I pray they GET rabies and have to go through the ordeal , even better I hope it is a child of yours and you have to watch.**

      —Dear Sweet Baby Jesus, please give my neighbor kids rabies and make ‘em suffer… Make them suffer greatly oh merciful Lord… Make them suffer until their parents rip out their own eyes and shove chop sticks into their ear holes until they meet in the middle, to make the howling stop.—

      I think Sarah Palin had that prayer printed out on nifty Bible Book Markers.

      • Jack White

        Ok I’ll admit it was a tad over the top lol but … Come on people, why wish harm to the employee or the dealership when fault lies on the owner of the WILD animal!!!! It is getting ridiculous ** reason for my ridiculous statement ***
        And don’t knock plain too much. At least she looks good compared to ole Hillary …

      • beety

        I think I will embroider that sweet little prayer onto a pillow.

    • TBRC

      There is a nice warm seat in hell for pieces of crap like yourself!

  • Jamie Smith

    More “Monkey Business”… It was at the request of the Man who was bitten that the monkey was put down. This is a very sad sorry for the owner. This man who was bitten seems like he is “milking” this incident for a lawsuit. Guess we will have to wait and see. I wouldn’t buy a car from Pat O.Brien who would hire such a “Drama King” as a employee…..

    • Bob Sweatt

      Yeah you’re right. Let’s blame the victim. I mean the owner did say it was ok for the salesman to pet the monkey. How dare the salesman ask to be bitten.

      And to say you wont be going to Pat O’Brien. Yeah how dare they employ someone who ask to pet someone’s monkey. I think the whole dealership should be closed down. Then cleaned from top to bottom. Lord knows what kind of diseases that little creature had.

  • Bruce Tennant

    why do people need to own wild animals ? just leave them alone in the jungle or wherever the heck spider monkeys live. Poor monkey had to die from human foolishness whoever we decide to blame.

  • Bob Sweatt

    Again You all make me sick. This story has been on here I believe since yesterday.

    http://chronicle.northcoastnow.com/2014/01/21/cleveland-gunman-large-killing-5-year-old/

    And this story doesn’t have one comment on it. A 5 yo was killed and you animal loving nuts care more about a monkey, then you do a child.

    HOW DO YOU SLEEP AT NIGHT!!! You all make me sick. Start caring about what matter most. Not about some stupid animal.

    • beety

      To be fair…. The only comment you made was about the lack of comments. No condolences were offered….

  • Nedim Buyukmihci

    I am a veterinarian with many years of experience with non-human primates. Monkeys do not belong in captivity, particularly in private homes. As has been documented repeatedly, monkeys can become a great danger to people as they become sexually mature and become aggressive and cause serious injuries. As was the case with Brodi, they are often killed often out of a misguided fear of rabies. There has, however, only been one reported case of rabies in so-called pet monkeys, about 100 years ago when a monkey had been bitten by a rabid dog. Brodi was killed, therefore, as a result of an hysterical and medically unsound reaction to his biting someone. Of course, it was human selfishness and self-indulgence that put him in the position of being in captivity in the first place. All the ex-’pet’ primates at the sanctuaries with which I worked came there because they attacked people, often their ‘owners,’ sometimes causing injuries requiring hospitalization. Even if the animals are not killed, their situation is tragic because they are deprived of a normal life. Non-human primates are highly social animals who should be in their native habitat, in social groups of dozens of individuals, living and doing things naturally. Keeping them in a human environment and raising them as if they were human children is cruel and leads to severe psychological problems, stress and distress. Regardless of how good are the intentions of the human guardian, no matter how good the care he or she provides, no matter how much ‘love’ they may bestow on them, these individuals are still wild and will continue to have the instincts and behavioral needs that cannot in any meaningful way be satisfied by human beings. If someone truly cares about these animals and wants to do the right thing by them, they should resist the temptation to keep them in captivity. And, if there are any legislators reading this, please pass legislation prohibiting the keeping of non-human primates (or any wildlife) as ‘pets.’ Nedim C. Buyukmihci, V.M.D. Emeritus Professor of Veterinary Medicine, University of California

    • MonkeyMan2014

      This has to be the most IGNORANT and ARROGANT display of power and authority I have heard of recently. The vet that advised the authorities that testing this primate for rabies clearly has the IQ of a Tic-Tac, and should have their vet lic taken away permanently. I got bit by a mouse, when I was about 12 year old, while playing with friends in newly laid down grass. My Mother was concerned and did take me to the doctor that day, but nothing was done about it. Obviously there wasn’t much concern or care for me back then. Vets know dam well that primates are not imported anymore and haven’t been for years. Also, Vets should have some sort of knowledge when it comes to primates and Hepatitis’s B, not rabies! The individuals who authorized this euthanizing and carried it out, will have to answer at some peoint to someone high in life then they are. They will live their life out, until they pass, knowing that they caused this, unprofessional, medical, and completely disastrous loss, without regards to the primates life…Remember and understand this….The monkey, has much of our own DNA in him, at his age, he was as smart as a 4 year old child! I stand by myself and the comment I am going to make… I know for a fact that this little monkey knew something happened, something bad and that he caused it, and I am sure, so very sure, he was more awear than we credited him, of a soon to come change for him. They are not stupid, they are as smart as a 4 year old child. A 4 year old child understands wrong doing.

  • Zen Grouch

    Just had a flashback to around 1965, reading Boy’s Life Magazine, checking out the Schwinn Bike ad on the back cover, and the ad for squirrel monkeys in that back section.

    http://horinca.blogspot.com/2007/09/mysterious-pet-monkey-ads-of-1960s.html

    The ads were enticing, but $19.95 was a lot of money in those days so I never bought one.

    Thank god for that!

    One day I saw a poor kid trying to walk his wild snarling monkey down Crehore Street on a leash.

    It was a fantastic occasion! I realized that I saved 20 bucks and wasn’t that poor son of a gun trying to manage 3 pounds of terror with teeth on a leather strap.

    I did make the mistake of purchasing a pair of “TAME” chipmunks from some miserable b****** in Florida. They were so wild one of ‘em was already pregnant and when these wild fur balls would bite, they wouldn’t let go without ripping the skin.

    Wild animals don’t belong in family dwellings.