CINCINNATI – Police were responding to several overnight calls Thursday about monkeys roaming free near a cemetery.
The report may have been misinformation, but police are taking it seriously, the Cincinnati Police Sgt. Jacob Hicks. No officer reported seeing the monkeys at St. Joseph’s cemetery, he said.
At least two calls were made to Cincinnati police on Wednesday about the monkeys, but dispatchers were unable to contact the callers, police said.
Stephen Bitner, president of the Cincinnati Catholic Cemetery Society, which owns the cemetery, said he checked security cameras but saw no activity.
The cemetery has a flock of wild turkeys, he added.
“Wild turkeys nest in trees,” he said. “So the question is, ‘Were they nesting in the trees,’ because anyone who filmed and posted (the video) on social media, it was (seen) through power lines because you can see the power lines in the video. “
Video circulating on Facebook shows three dark bodies in trees, but it’s too dark to be
Bruce VanHook, who runs the cemetery, was there at 6.30am. “Between him and me, we’ve been patrolling probably for the last two hours and we can’t see anything that looks like a monkey,” Bitner said.
The cemetery property borders private woods that stretch for about half a mile, he said.
Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden Spokeswoman Michelle Curley told The Enquirer, which is part of the USA TODAY Network, that the zoo is ready to respond if necessary.
“We are assessing the situation to see if there is anything we can do to help the Cincinnati Police Department. Nothing could be done in the dark,” said Curley.
Officers first responded to the city’s West Side around 10 p.m. Wednesday after locals reported seeing monkeys swinging from trees at St. Joseph’s Cemetery, according to Fox 19. They left the scene after failing. nothing found but said they plan to come back later Thursday morning.
Police said no one who claimed to own monkeys had made a report. Earlier, FOX19 said police believed the monkeys may have escaped from a house.
The Ohio Exotic Animals Act, enacted in 2012, prohibited private owners from acquiring, selling, and breeding restricted species in Ohio, according to the Columbus Dispatch, which is part of the USA TODAY Network.
The shortlist includes lions, tigers, bears, elephants, some monkeys, rhinos, alligators, crocodiles, anacondas and pythons over 12 feet, some vipers and all poisonous snakes.
Owners who have registered the animals they own – and who adhere to the caging and care standards set out in the law – can keep their animals for as long as they live. But they can’t buy new ones or raise the ones they have.
Residents of Ohio are allowed to own marmosets, capuchins, lemurs and squirrel monkeys, according to the Department of Agriculture. Other species are considered dangerous wild animals in Ohio.