Depressed monkey with rickets was locked up in tiny cage in London flat

A monkey owner has been banned from keeping primates after locking his up in a tiny cage.

Joseph Paul Ghesson, 41, was investigated by the RSPCA after his female marmoset named Nicky escaped his London flat in Notting Hill.

In June 2019 an animal welfare inspector found little Nicky in a sorry state showing upsetting signs of abuse including hair loss, bruising and rickets.

The depressed marmoset fell from Ghesson's flat where she had been caged alone since her companion horrifically died in a fire.

RSPCA Inspector Callum Isitt, who found Nicky, said: "I soon identified her owner as he had reported that his pet marmoset was missing.

"When I visited his home, I could see that Nicky was living in unacceptable conditions. Primates are intelligent, sentient and highly social animals with complex needs. But Nicky had been kept in a cage that was too small."

The rickets was caused by the lack of ultra violet lighting, which is important for the bone health of monkeys.

Mr Isitt said Ghesson provided Nicky with very little environmental enrichment of mental stimulation.

In March 2021 Ghesson was found guilty of not meeting the needs of his pet marmoset and was disqualified from keeping a pet for 10 years, as well as being handed a £250 fine and was made to pay £1,200 costs.

However, on February 11 2022 Ghesson appeared in court again to appeal against this sentence.

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But rather than reduce the terms of his sentence, a judge at Southwark Crown Court decided to increase his ban on keeping primates from 10 years to an indefinite period of time, and ordered that Ghessons pay a further £300 towards prosecution costs.

Nicky has since been re-homed to a specialist facility where she is living a happier life.

Mr Issit said: "It was clear Nicky's needs just weren't being met. She will now live out the rest of her natural life at a specialist primate boarding facility in a suitable environment where she will be able to socialise with other members of her species."

Nicky isn't the only monkey suffering abuse as a pet. RSPCA scientific officer Ross Chubb said they have seen situations where monkeys have even been given Class A drugs.

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Mr Chubb said: "Just like humans, primates can become depressed without adequate stimulation. They need a spacious and enriched environment that challenges their intelligent brains and allows for them to behave like primates should.

"But, sadly, RSPCA Inspectors are still seeing shocking situations where monkeys are cooped up in bird cages, fed fast food, sugary drinks or even Class A drugs, deprived of companions of their own kind, living in dirt and squalor and suffering from disease.”

He added: "Monkeys are not suitable pets. All primates, hand-reared or not, are wild animals. They are highly intelligent beings that need specialist care in captivity. The complex environment that a primate needs can never be provided in a house."

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