Monkey, monkey, who has the monkey?
That was the question being asked here today by Joanne Kolodnicki and at Anne Arundel County's animal shelter where, under terms of a court agreement, the Glen Burnie woman's pet was to begin a 28-day quarantine to make sure it does not have rabies.
But Kolodnicki, who for two weeks staved off attempts by Maryland and Anne Arundel County officials to kill her 13-year-old spider monkey because it bit her father, said today she does not know where Missy is.
Kolodnicki said she turned it over to representatives of the International Primate Protection League, an animal protection group, for safekeeping. But Shirley McGreal of Summerville, S. C., chairwoman of the group, said her organization does not have, and never did have, Missy.
Kolodnicki, 41, who said she already has spent $1,000 on telephone calls and attorney fees trying to protect her pet, was supposed to get her monkey to the animal shelter in Glen Burnie by midnight today. But county officials said that because the courts are closed over the weekend, for all practical purpose she has until Monday morning to produce the animal. If Missy is not in the custody of the county by then, they said they will begin contempt of court proceedings.
John Kolodnicki, 69, first refused to take a series of shots to immunize him against rabies that could result from being bitten on the hand on Aug. 6. But on Thursday, after the elder Kolodnicki agreed to take the shots, his daughter's attorney, Joseph C. Asensio, worked out a compromise with county and state officials that called for her to turn over the monkey for a quarantine today. If the monkey showed no signs of rabies within the 28 days it would take to complete the shots, the county would release the monkey to its owner.
The compromise, approved by Circuit Court Judge James L. Wray, countered an order last week by county health officer Dr. J. Howard Beard demanding Kolodnicki turn over Missy to be killed so her brain could be examined for rabies. State regulation requires any wild animal that bites a human be destroyed unless excepted by the state public health veterinarian.
Joanne Kolodnicki, who insists her monkey is healthy, at first agreed to give up her pet of seven years, but then she reneged.
A week ago Tuesday, she said, she got a phone call from people who identified themselves as being with the International Primate Protection League. They came to her house and took Missy to keep her from officials who, two days later, got a warrant to search Kolodnicki's small cottage for the monkey.
Since then, Kolodnicki said today, she has heard daily from the individuals, but has no idea of their names or whereabouts. She said when they picked up the monkey, they showed her a plastic card with "Primate Protection League" on it.
Chairwoman McGreal, however, said her only contact with Kolodnicki has been to advise her to get a lawyer and about a "more humane" California law that only requires a 14-day quarantine for a wild animal that bites a person. She is upset that her organization has been tied in with any unlawful act and disavows any knowledge of the monkey's location.
Last night, Kolodnicki said she heard from the keepers again and for the second time they advised her against returning the monkey.
Asensio, anxious to live up to the court order, said he wants to talk to the people now. "I'm going to try and persuade them they're making a big mistake. I hope I can be persuasive enough to get that monkey back to Anne Arundel County where it belongs," he said this afternoon as a midnight deadline approached.
Deputy County Solicitor Victor Sulin said the county's main concern was getting shots for John Kolodnicki and he is satisfied that Asensio and Kolodnicki are "making every effort to cooperate and deliver the monkey." He is, however, angry that a third party got involved and said he hopes state law will be tightened in the future to bring "the full force of the law" on anyone who hides an animal sought by officials.