As the refugee from justice she became over the last two weeks, Missy the spider monkey meekly emerged from a peach-colored Lincoln Continental this morning and, clinging to her mistress' hand, headed toward 23 days of confinement at the Anne Arundel County animal shelter.
Monkey owner Joanne Kolodnicki brought along a black-and-white television to keep Missy company--she loves animal shows, Kolodnicki said--and an overnight bag stocked with her favorite foods: strawberry licorice, marshmallows, orange slices and cocktail onions.
Missy's surrender ended a futile search by health and animal control officials who, fearing rabies, wanted her destroyed and tested for the usually fatal virus because she bit Kolodnicki's father on Aug. 6.
Efforts by officials to seize the monkey, including a search of Kolodnicki's Glen Burnie home on Aug. 11, failed. Last Thursday, John Kolodnicki, 69, agreed to a series of rabies immunizations he previously refused.
His decision, and an accompanying court agreement that calls for the monkey to be quarantined the 28 days it takes for him to receive the shots, resulted in an agreement that saved Missy's life. The elder Kolodnicki took the first three shots last Thursday, and received the first of four follow-ups Sunday.
Joanne Kolodnicki fulfilled her end of the agreement by relinquishing her pet of seven years to animal control agents in Glen Burnie at 10:10 a.m. today.
Despite efforts to make Missy comfortable, county animal control Officer Jan Worrell said the 13-year-old pet, accustomed to the run of her own house, was acting "like a caged monkey."
"Right now she's mad. If she stays mad, she'll be all right," said Kolodnicki, who said she was concerned that if Missy became depressed, she would not survive until the end of the quarantine. "They have emotions just like a person. She doesn't understand what's happening."
Kolodnicki said Missy slumped into a depression while in hiding with unidentified strangers. Kolodnicki said that since Missy was returned to her Sunday night, Missy has refused to eat anything except a little egg and canteloupe.
The exact whereabouts of the monkey for the last two weeks remains a mystery. Kolodnicki said she turned over her pet for safekeeping to individuals originally identified as being with the International Primate Protection League, but a spokesman for that animal protection group, based in Summerville, S.C., denied that the league had custody of the monkey. Kolodnicki said today that when Missy was returned to her Sunday night, Missy's caretakers identified themselves as "private people who have their own monkeys." She said they told her they were with the league to cultivate her trust.
Missy reportedly began "pining" for Kolodnicki during the last week of her exile and refused to eat.
Victor Sulin, the deputy solicitor representing the county, said if Missy does not do well at the shelter, he would return to court to change the order and allow Missy to be quarantined at home.
He said the quarantine was leverage used by the county to assure that Kolodnicki's father would take the shots.
"I don't want the monkey to die," he said.