A US woman is fighting her local council in a bid to keep three emotional support monkeys that she says help her battle post-traumatic stress disorder - and her doctor is backing her.
Texanne McBride-Teahan, from Creve Couer in Missouri, lives with three monkeys that she says are crucial to her mental health, but is fighting to keep them after neighbours complained to the local council.
McBride-Teahan says she has lived with and trained monkeys for 20 years and did not have any complaints until she moved to Creve Couer.
One neighbour, Jim Hentschell, took his concerns to council after seeing one of the animals outside.
"It's a wild animal. They belong in zoos, you know, or in their natural habitat," he told KMOV.
"I believe in the rule of law. If they are considered a dangerous animal and can carry something as nasty as hepatitis, they shouldn't be here."
A recent council meeting heard submissions on the matter, including one from local police chief Glenn Eidman, who said that McBride-Teahan received a citation on September 9 for having three monkeys — a black-capped capuchin, a patas, and a bonnet macaque — at her rented home.
He told councillors that one city ordinance declares "non-human primates" to be "inherently dangerous".
Another ordinance prohibits anyone from keeping any exotic animal, including, but not limited to, those that have been declared to be inherently dangerous.
McBride-Teahan argued the monkeys are her service animals, helping her manage her PTSD.
"They are not dangerous animals. They are trained. They assist me. I have PTSD because of something that happened to me, a very bad thing that happened to me a long time ago," she said.
"They are not roaming the streets or let out after dark. There has never been an incident, and they've lived here for years. People come to my home to learn about these primates and play with them."
Councilwoman Charlotte D'Alfonso countered that residents have told her the monkeys have been left to run loose on the property.
"Residents tell me they're afraid to go out after dark," she said.
"If a monkey bites you, it can be fatal due to Hepatitis B carried by some of these animals. Research also shows monkeys can get aggressive after puberty and should be kept with their own kind."
Courts will decide on the animals' fate.