Terminal cancer patient wants seized monkey back

The Govannuccis small monkey, Kira. KDKA/Govannucci family

NORTH VERSAILLES, Pa. - A suburban Pittsburgh man has been fined for illegally possessing a monkey he says acted as a helper for him and his cancer-stricken wife.

Samuel Govannucci says he got the small monkey, named Kira, about 10 years ago as he was recovering from an accident. He says the creature became more important when his wife was diagnosed with leukemia.

But the Pennsylvania Game Commission seized the monkey during a raid in April. On Wednesday Govannucci was found guilty of possession of a monkey without a permit.

The game commission says it rarely grants permits for monkeys because they can carry diseases potentially fatal to humans.

Amanda Govannucci says she has hearing problems and Kira would alert her when someone was at the door.

The 23-year-old has been told by doctors she has six months to live, CBS station KDKA reports. Amanda Govannucci calls Kira a therapy monkey and claims she needs the monkey to survive.

"I'm taking medication just to calm me down because I can't cope without her," she said.

The Govannuccis say they'll appeal.

"They think it's a big joke to take a dying woman's therapy animal away," Sam Govannucci said. "It's not a joke. They're playing with someone's life."

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