OSHAWA, Ont. - An Ontario judge is set to rule today on where Darwin the Ikea monkey will live while a trial to decide his ownership is held.
Yasmin Nakhuda refers to herself as the Ikea monkey's mom and wants him returned, saying a long separation will damage her bond with the little primate.
Darwin was sent to a sanctuary northeast of Toronto last year after he was found running around an Ikea parking lot wearing a little shearling coat.
The Story Book Farm Primate Sanctuary has argued that Nakhuda is an unfit mom, raising unproven allegations that she "strangled" the monkey, and didn't change his diapers for several days.
Court in Oshawa, Ont., heard Thursday that Nakhuda wrote in an email that she was "unfit" to care for the primate, calling him a "time bomb" because she couldn't stop him from biting.
Nakhuda's lawyer suggests his client was despondent over criticism from the trainer and didn't really mean what she said.
Ted Charney said the choking allegation comes from the way Nakhuda held Darwin while bathing him.
The email refers to the breeder — not Nakhuda — hitting Darwin, Charney said, and the emails contain one reference to Nakhuda leaving Darwin in the same diaper for 36 hours because she had difficulty changing it right after she brought him home.
Charney also argued in court that Toronto animal services tricked Nakhuda into signing a form surrendering her pet after he was picked up in the Toronto Ikea parking lot.
One of the officers gave evidence in advance of Thursday's hearing that he suggested there could be repercussions for Nakhuda under provincial laws if she didn't sign a form surrendering Darwin.
Among the evidence filed in court are statements from Nakhuda's employees and other witnesses to interactions between Nakhuda and Darwin. They say Darwin went everywhere with Nakhuda and if they were even briefly separated he would cry. None said they saw Nakhuda abusing Darwin or using force to discipline him.
The sanctuary's lawyer argued that a wild animal is no longer the property of a human if it escapes and returns to the wild, as Darwin did at Ikea.