Pet monkey dies, owners arrested

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A dead marmoset monkey was found inside of a parked car at a Sevierville tourist attraction and a second primate was being treated for severe dehydration, authorities said.

The owners of the monkeys — identified as 54-year old Nova Brettell and David Paul Brettell, also 54, both of Warsaw, Indiana — were arrested on charges of animal cruelty, according to Sevierville spokesperson Bob Stahlke.

Mamosets are small primates that are native to South America. They prefer to live in the canopies of tall forests, and most of the 22 species of marmoset can fit in an adult human’s hand. Some species — especially Pygmy marmosets — have become popular pets in the United States.

Officers from the Sevierville Police Department were dispatched to Soaky Mountain Waterpark at 175 Gists Creek Road on Wednesday afternoon, after the waterpark’s management reported a dead monkey inside a vehicle.

“When officers arrived, they found a nine-week old marmoset monkey deceased in a car in the parking lot,” Stahlke said. “Another marmoset monkey was also in the vehicle. That five-week old monkey appeared to be in distress from the extreme interior vehicle heat and was transported to Appalachian Animal Hospital in Morristown for treatment.”

The monkey was described as “very dehydrated,” but its condition was improving with medical treatment, Stahlke said.

When authorities responded to the scene, the temperature was about 87 degrees, he said. The temperature of a vehicle’s interior in the summer can rise from 85 degrees to 120 degrees within thirty minutes, he stated.

Published on June 28, 2021.