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Exotic animal owners flee from state regulations

Jim and Donita Clark have owned four capuchin monkeys for 10 years, rearing them and allowing them a meaningful place in their family. But after the high-profile case of exotic animals escaping from an Ohio residence in 2011, wildlife agents in many states, like their home state Louisiana, have been cracking down on the ownership of exotic animals, The Associated Press reports.

The Clarks had to flee Louisiana and are now living in a motor home somewhere in Texas. They fled before authorities showed up to their house for an inspection. At least six states have banned the ownership of exotic animals altogether since 2005, and Congress has discussed tighter federal regulations in order to protect humans and wildlife.

Owners like the Clarks feel attacked for doing nothing wrong and raising the monkeys in a healthy environment, but veterinarians and primate experts agree that monkeys, like all wild animals, should not be kept as pets.

"They are not animated toys. They're so intelligent they're difficult to keep in a stimulated environment long term," Dr. Patricia V. Turner, the president of the Association of Primate Veterinarians, told the news outlet.

According to Encyclopedia Britannica, capuchin monkeys are found in the wild in tropical forests from Nicaragua to Paraguay. 
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