2016-08-25 / Local

Monkey spotted in Bellows Falls area

By Tory Jones Bonenfant
BELLOWS FALLS — Why did the monkey cross the road? The answer to that question remains a mystery for now, following sightings by at least three people of a monkey near the Route 121, Back Westminster Road area.

Bellows Falls Police Department (BFPD) dispatcher Alisha Beam said on Wednesday, Aug. 24 that an “older gentleman” came into the police station on Monday, Aug. 22 with his granddaughter, and both said they had seen a monkey crossing Route 21 in front of their car that day.

“It had a tail, it was on all fours, it ran across the street,” Beam said. “It wasn’t huge.”

On Tuesday, the BFPD posted the following paragraph to its Facebook page:

“One of the oddest things was reported to the Bellows Falls Police Department yesterday. A man came into the lobby reporting that he had just seen a monkey on Route 121, at Back Westminster Road. He advised that ‘it’ crossed the road right in front of him. If you know of anyone in the area that has monkeys and is missing one, please contact the Bellows Falls Police Department.”

That Facebook post has drawn close to 50 comments ranging from concern to hilarity to disbelief, and has been shared about 250 times since Monday. Local residents have mentioned that it may be a service animal. One wrote that it may have been a fisher cat. A few offered the theory, jokingly, that it may have been Bigfoot, a “baby Sasquatch,” or “Mankey,” a primate Pokémon.  

“It may be someone's service animal. Expensive to train, 40K. If there is a service animal registry, maybe it would be an excellent resource. Good luck!” said one commenter.

Comments indicated that a monkey was also seen in the area a year ago.

“One was running up Hyde street last year, my neighbor caught it on camera,” said a Facebook user.

“I certainly hope that if it really is a monkey, they find it before it gets hurt or killed,” one person wrote.

Police Chief Ron Lake was unavailable on Wednesday. Beam said that she collected the information on the sighting, and that since that post, another person has mentioned that they too saw what looked like a monkey crossing the street in that area, but at first the person “thought they were seeing things.”

Beam said the police chief wanted the information posted on the Facebook page to bring awareness to the community about what may be a lost pet or service animal, in case an owner had not registered the animal but may be looking for it.

“I know people in the area that have had monkeys as pets,” Beam said.

Carrie Roberts, director of animal care for Windham County Humane Society in Brattleboro, said on Wednesday that no one has brought a monkey into the humane society or called to report one lost. Certain monkeys are illegal in Vermont, such as spider monkeys, she said.

If a monkey is found and no owner located, “it would probably have to go to a sanctuary,” rather than to a humane society, she said.

No monkeys have been brought in as “found” to local veterinary clinics since Monday, according to both Deb Rounds, front desk staffer at Westminster Animal Hospital, and Lynn Wilkins, receptionist at Walpole Veterinary Hospital.  

Beam said that she had not heard any update since the Monday sightings and is not sure if the monkey has been seen again or returned to its owner, if it has one.  

Anyone with information can contact BFPD at (802) 463-1234.

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