1. FACTS: A couple had domesticated a monkey – had been w/ family since birth, resided w/ them for 7 yrs, argued that common meaning of house pet should be applied, and thus the monkey was one.
a. Statute “it is no defense that the owner of keeper of any animal or reptile which is prohibited has domesticated said animal” – prohibited animals included: bees, goats, sheep, hogs, cattle, fowl, reptile, or serpent, spider or other animal normally wild, dangerous to humans, or carnivore other than domesticated house pets.
2. ISSUE: Is the phrase “domesticated animals” read to mean only cats and dogs.
3. HOLDING: No, ct uncharacteristically determined that the statute language did not apply to the monkey who was domesticated, but did not have dangerous propensities of a wild animal.
a. To interpret phrase “domesticated animals” to mean only cats and dogs would have absurd result of also banning the sale of other common pets such as hamsters, birds, tropical fish, etc.
b. Couple presented evidence that monkey was raised from very young age, toiled trained, communicated, etc. and no evidence was presented to the contrary which would show that the monkey was a danger to the community.
4. RULE: These cases will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis – Just b/c an animal is normally wild doesn’t mean it cant become domesticated for purposes of the statute.
a. *Interesting extension of the law to cover more animals
i. White’s dissent says clearly statute disqualifies the allowance of domesticated animals which were once wild.
ii. Note: FL anti-cruelty statute includes: Every dumb creature.