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County Approves Squirrel Monkey Sanctuary Near Galt

GALT (CBS13) — After more than two years of debate, Sacramento County leaders have finally voted on a proposed new monkey sanctuary near Galt.

It would house dozens of squirrel monkeys, but opponents were concerned over noise and other issues. A final decision was made Tuesday, and the monkeys will be moving into the rural five-acre property near Galt.

"Squirrel Monkey Haven," a non-profit facility, will house up to 55 primates that were previously used by medical researchers. The monkeys are now retired, and without a new home, they would be euthanized.

"These monkeys that have dedicated their entire lives to behavioral research and other types of research that benefits humankind. I think we have an obligation to these animals to see that they live out their lives in a tranquil and peaceful manner,"  said Squirrel Monkey Haven attorney Nick Avdis.

READ MORE: Squirrel Monkey Sanctuary Fight Draws Blowback From Neighbors

The property owners say the sanctuary would feature 18 indoor climate-controlled kennels with attached outdoor habitats and be surrounded by an eight-foot-tall fence. But the project drew criticism from some nearby homeowners who aren't happy about this monkey business and filed an appeal last year, expressing concerns over potential escapes, odors and noise.

"We came to the country because we like the sounds of the country. Never in a million years would I think we would be here right now and I wish we weren't," one resident said in 2018.

An environmental review is now complete and county staff says the project has met all requirements.

"The predicted property line noise levels would be below the measured ambient noise," said Leighann Moffitt, Sacramento County Planning Director.

Sacramento County Supervisors voted unanimously to approve the project so now the primates have a permanent place to live out their lives.

The sanctuary won't be open to the public and must have an emergency plan in place which includes notifying the sheriff's department if there's an escape.

It could open by the end of the year.

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