Exotic Pet Monkey to Return to Maryland Woman After Legal Tug-of-War

Armani, an exotic pet monkey that authorities seized from a Rockville woman in May, will be home for Christmas.

A Montgomery County judge on Monday overruled a county animal board, which had found that the seizure of the monkey was appropriate.

Circuit Court Judge Terrence McGann ruled that the board shouldn't have heard the case while Elyse Gazewitz was facing criminal charges for possessing the animal. The state later dropped the charge, which McGann ruled ought to have triggered Armani's release.

McGann ordered police to reimburse thousands of dollars Gazewitz paid a zoo in Thurmont, where the monkey has lived since he was seized.

Gazewitz reacted to the judge's ruling by sobbing tears of joy. She has referred to the monkey as her baby and dressed Armani in diapers — with holes cut out for his tail.