A Newport woman has been banned from keeping all animals for life, and handed a suspended jail term, after causing unnecessary mental suffering to a marmoset through her abusive behaviour – including flushing the monkey down the toilet, and offering the helpless animal cocaine.
Vicki Holland, of Wordsworth Road, pleaded guilty to three Animal Welfare Act offences on November 18 – and was sentenced at Newport Magistrates’ Court today (10 December).
She was banned from keeping all animals for life – and given a 12-week jail term, suspended for 12 months. Holland, 38, must also pay £420 in costs and a £128 victim surcharge.
The monkey’s treatment was brought to the attention of the RSPCA after videos were found on Holland’s phone by Gwent Police.
After a police warrant had been executed at the Newport property, Holland informed the RSPCA that she had sold the marmoset a week earlier. The marmoset was subsequently found at another address – and was signed into the care of the RSPCA, before being transferred to specialist primate experts at ‘Monkey World’ in Dorset for ongoing and appropriate care.
Speaking after sentencing, RSPCA inspector and exotics officer Sophie Daniels said: “I was immediately and gravely concerned about the welfare of this marmoset when I saw these disturbing videos.
“Videos from the defendant’s phone showed Holland offering the marmoset cocaine, while another showed the clearly terrified marmoset down a toilet bowl.
“Holland was shouting, swearing, laughing and at one point in the clip, the toilet is flushed, showing the petrified animal struggling to cling onto the side of the bowl.
“An independent vet soon confirmed that the marmoset was suffering unnecessarily as a result of the way she had been treated.
“We’d like to thank Gwent Police for their assistance in this case, along with Monkey World who have provided a forever home for the marmoset. Thankfully, this monkey is now getting the care they deserve after such shocking mistreatment.”
Marmosets are by far the most common primates being kept as pets. However, the RSPCA is “totally opposed” to the keeping of any primate as a pet, because it is so hard to meet their complex needs in a domestic environment.
RSPCA senior scientific manager Dr Ros Clubb, added: “Sadly our inspectors see monkeys cooped up in bird cages, fed fast food and sugary drinks, deprived of friends of their own kind and suffering from disease as a result of poor care.
“We fear many are suffering behind closed doors because people do not know how to look after these animals properly.”