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Case Goes Bananas: Woman Gives Up Fight for Monkey

Armani, the Capuchin monkey owned by a Rockville woman, will remain at a primate sanctuary in Virginia.

Armani, the Capuchin monkey owned by a Rockville woman, will remain at a primate sanctuary in Virginia. Credit: Screenshot from WJLA TV
Armani, the Capuchin monkey owned by a Rockville woman, will remain at a primate sanctuary in Virginia. Credit: Screenshot from WJLA TV

A Rockville woman says she's dropping her legal efforts to get her monkey back from a primate sanctuary that has been caring for it since last summer.

In 2007, the county seized Elyse Gazewitz's Capuchin monkey, named Armani. After a court battle, a judge ordered Armani returned.

According to Montgomery County, officers responded to Gazewitz’s house in the 4600 block of Cherry Valley Drive in Rockville on May 15, 2007, for a complaint that there was a malnourished monkey being kept at the address. Authorities said the monkey was well cared for, but that the owner was in violation of a Maryland law that prohibits a person from possessing primates, including monkeys.

But in August 2013, Gazewitz turned Armani over to a monkey rescue group while she was recovering from surgery, according to WJLA TV. She said the arrangement was temporary, but the sanctuary says she signed an agreement to surrender the animal.

The group, American Primate Haven based in Onancock, VA, said it wouldn't return Armani, saying the monkey's welfare is its prime concern.

Gazewitz had been attempting to get the monkey back, but told ABC7 Monday that she's dropping her case out of love for Armani.

PJ March 24, 2014 at 03:09 PM
Elyse, you know very well that you signed a contract to rehome Armani. Yes you back peddled several months later, but you gave up on your court case because you knew you had to. You have slandered American Primate Haven repeatedly, as much as they have tried to help you over the years..Even in this article you are stating that they were just suppose to babysit for you during your surgery which is not nor ever has been true. You gave up your monkey.. signed a contract to do so and after Armani was happy and has a buddy that he dearly loves that he shares an enclosure with... you still went into the court drama until you knew you couldn't go any further..You did not stop out of your love for Armani. Let's see how long you can possibly keep yourself from getting attention in the press. You should have been counter-sued for slander. I just wish these people that do articles and take statements from you would take one trip to Virginia and listen to all of your messages!!!
M.M March 24, 2014 at 03:21 PM
WJLA: I was very disappointed to see your story, "Case goes banana's, Woman gives up fight for monkey" because this woman agreed not to slander this place any more and signed a legal agreement however she is still using the media (WJLA) to do so. Is that not third party or indirect slandering when she is not telling the truth and states that she signed a babysitting agreement when in reality, she signed a placement contract which was witnessed by others (including her friend) who was willing to testify against her in court? A contract is a contract and she can say she didnt understand what she signed however her and her friends comments about the permanent placement of Armani states differently. An opinion is an opinion, facts are facts and facts are heard in the court of law. Is this not the same as third party or indirect slander by her using the media to continue to do so? She states that she gave up out of the love for Armani, which is very hard to believe since she has told so many lies. I believe it was more than that. I believe it was because she knew that there was no way she could win in the courts, knowing what she signed, the witnesses and the conversation that took place at the time of the placement. That would be MORE the truth. I think you should be picky when jumping in on a story if you dont know the facts. I also hope you will not allow this woman to continue to slander by using WJLA to do so because this could end up with another case if the person and place being slandered decides to act on it. What a shame! It seems the media will pick up on any story whether it is fact, fiction or opinion anymore. If there were thumbs down for this article, I would definately click on it!!
Peggy Durrua Rice March 24, 2014 at 04:30 PM
In reference to her last statement; Elyse is dropping the case due to she legally signed a contract and transfered ownership to American Primate Haven who placed Armani in a wonderful new home with other capuchins so he was no longer living in a cage alone. First, there was no oral contract only a written contract when Elyse placed Armani with American Primate Haven. After a couple months of Armani being in a wonderful home Elyse wanted him removed. I refused. She then lied about me and got a lawyer to bring me to court. I finally got a lawyer to stand with me and my contract and Elyse backed down. Armani was placed in a foster situation which turned out to now become his permanent placement. He is with other black cap capuchins and owners that have many years experience with capuchins. He has blossomed into a happy boy. Elyse did the right thing placing him as his situation was bad with her due to her health, but unfortunately, her integrity was short lived.

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