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The Leavenworth Times - Leavenworth, KS
  • Commissioners reject exotic animal waiver

  • After listening to an appeal from the owner of a monkey Thursday, Leavenworth County commissioners did not approve a waiver to an exotic animal ordinance that prohibits primates in unincorporated areas of the county.
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    • In other business
      When they met Thursday, Leavenworth County commissioners took up the following issues:

      They authorized vacating a section Metro Avenue between 190th and 198th Streets where a...
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      In other business
      When they met Thursday, Leavenworth County commissioners took up the following issues:
      They authorized vacating a section Metro Avenue between 190th and 198th Streets where a bridge has been removed.
      They listened to quarterly reports for the Juvenile Justice Authority, Planning and Zoning, Information Systems and Human Resources.
      They discussed trying to schedule a meeting with local state legislators for Nov. 30.
  • After listening to an appeal from the owner of a monkey Thursday, Leavenworth County commissioners did not approve a waiver to an exotic animal ordinance that prohibits primates in unincorporated areas of the county.
    No formal vote was taken, but two of the three county commissioners indicated they wouldn't support such a waiver.
    Commissioners first discussed the possibility of a waiver last week with Deputy County Counselor Roger Marrs after he'd been contacted about the issue.
    The matter came up again Thursday when Margie Masoner, who is seeking the waiver, addressed the commissioners.
    Masoner said she owns a 13-year-old capuchin monkey but only recently learned that type of animal is not permitted where she lives in Wyandotte County.
    She said the monkey now is staying with someone in Texas but the animal is depressed.
    "He's never been away from us his whole life," she said.
    Commission Chairman Bob Holland said the exotic animal resolution that was passed in 2001 states that such animals are not allowed unless grandfathered in. And some animals were grandfathered in after the resolution was approved.
    Holland said his concern is that the monkey could become free and possibly injure someone. He said the commissioners have seen news stories about exotic animals attacking people.
    He said the issue is not something commissioners have taken lightly.
    "Our law is the law," he said.
    Commissioner Clyde Graeber asked about the size of the monkey.
    Masoner said the animal weighs about 10 pounds.
    She said animal stays inside with its owners.
    Graeber said he would be willing to look at a waiver if the owners of the monkeys moved into the county.
    Masoner said she has a desire to move to Leavenworth County.
    County Administrator Pat Hurley asked if she had ever lived in Leavenworth County, noting the resolution has a grandfather clause. But Masoner said she's never lived in the county.
    Commissioner Dennis Bixby asked about the average life span of this type of monkey.
    Masoner said they usually live between 25 and 30 years.
    Holland said his main concern is Masoner's perception that the monkey is not a risk to other people. He said his perception is that the monkey may be a gentle animal. But a waiver opens the door to other people with animals that might be dangerous. He used a cougar as an example.
    "I just think we're going to set a precedent," he said, and the county would have to make exceptions for everyone.
    Holland said he would not be in favor of granting a waiver for Masoner.
    Page 2 of 2 - Bixby said Leavenworth County had been a "live and let live" county for many years. But as it grows, exceptions can't be made to every rule.
    Bixby said he doesn't think he can vote in favor of a waiver.
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