Bill would allow disabled Georgians to keep monkeys as helpers

I almost thought this was a fake story…it’s not. Click on the Helping Hands link to find out more. Isn’t this how the planet of the apes ended up becoming what it became? Before we know it the Statue of Liberty will be all freaky….
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Bill would allow disabled Georgians to keep monkeys as helpers
Associated Press
ATLANTA – Rep. Doug Holt, R-Social Circle, has introduced a bill that would allow disabled Georgians to keep monkeys as helpers, making an exception to Georgia law that bans monkeys from being kept as pets.
“With ample safeguards in place, why shouldn’t we do all we can to help the disabled?” Holt said.
A Boston nonprofit group, “Helping Hands: Monkey Helpers for the Disabled,” trains small monkeys to help with errands like getting food, picking up dropped objects and changing a CD.
A quadriplegic Covington woman was about to receive a free monkey from the group in 2004 when she discovered the ban.
Now Helen Sterling, 42, hopes Holt’s bill will change that, helping her gain more independence through the monkey and also lightening the burden for her 69-year-old mother, who lives with her.
“It’s those hundreds of things a day my mother won’t have to do,” Sterling said. “So it’s not only a gift for me, it’s a gift for the caregiver.”
Bill Fletcher, chief of game management for the state’s Department of Natural Resources, says his agency supports the plan but also reminds people that monkeys can be a health and safety hazard because they can carry diseases.
“We want to make sure the legislation doesn’t include loopholes for abuse,” Fletcher said.
The bill would allow only those who are severely disabled to get a wild animal permit from the DNR. The animal would have to have been trained by an organization that has at least a 10-year track record.