Ikea customers were surprised and amused to find a coat-wearing monkey in the parking lot while shopping in Toronto on Sunday.
The monkey found a way out of its crate and then out of the car while its owner was picking out furniture, and wandered around in his shearling coat and diaper. Police officers and Ikea employees corralled the little guy in the lot until animal services arrived.
No one was hurt and most shoppers thought the monkey was pretty adorable, reports ABC News. But his owner ended up in some serious trouble with the authorities.
The first problem is that he let a wild animal get out. Even though he took precautions to keep the monkey inside, if the animal had bitten or hurt someone after it escaped, the owner would be liable for any injuries.
Most traditional domesticated pets like dogs and cats are considered relatively safe. Still, pet owners are often held legally responsible if they fail to control their pets. If an attack is unexpected, however, they can potentially avoid liability.
For wild animals, courts generally impose strict liability on the owners.
That means pets like snakes, certain dog breeds like pit bulls, and other dangerous animals are seen as an inherent risk. Any injury they cause is the fault of the owner, even if steps were taken to keep the animal restrained.
But the monkey's owner had a bigger problem. His pet was a rhesus macaque, which are illegal in the Canadian province of Ontario, reports The Globe and Mail.
You can see the monkey in action in this video report by CNN:
The monkey was taken from its owner, who was fined $240 for having a prohibited animal.
Don't get any ideas that the same situation would be any different in the United States. Most states have banned monkeys as pets, because there's no way to domesticate them completely.
The TV sitcom "Friends" may have led us astray all these years, thinking we could have a "Marcel" of our own. In reality, owning a monkey is all fun and games until someone gets arrested or fined.
For those of you concerned about the monkey, he seemed to be OK throughout this ordeal. While he was put off by all the attention, he was rescued from the parking lot without injury.