What You Need To Know: Chris Brown

Chris Brown facing criminal charges for owning exotic pet monkey

Singer-songwriter Chris Brown has had his share of legal troubles, including assaulting then-girlfriend Rihanna in 2009 and an arrest on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon.

» RELATED: Here's what you should know about Chris Brown

According to TMZ, Brown is now facing criminal charges for owning an exotic monkey without a permit. He first shared a video of his 3-year-old daughter cuddling the animal on Instagram in 2017, prompting an investigation for the girl’s safety and primate’s welfare by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Brown agreed to voluntarily surrender the pet and is due in court on Wednesday, Feb. 6. 

The Los Angeles City Attorney has charged the singer with two misdemeanor counts of having a capuchin monkey, a restricted species, without a permit, TMZ reported Thursday.

» RELATED: Chris Brown says jail was ‘humbling’ and made him fat

Under California state law, it’s illegal to import, transport or possess the animals without an official permit from the Fish and Wildlife Department. Owning the monkey, which Brown named Fiji, can carry a maximum sentence of six months in jail.

Capuchin monkeys, also called sapajou, are native to Central and South America and are considered “among the most intelligent of the New World monkeys,” according to Brittanica.

The primates can be used to help the physically disabled with chores, but wildlife officials adamantly oppose capuchins as pets.

» RELATED: Monkey love: Capuchin consoling its pal is practically human

As babies, the monkeys typically have human-like features, which makes them particularly attractive to humans. But they can grow up to become quite destructive.

“Keeping monkeys as pets threatens public health and safety as well as animal welfare. They can attack, they can spread disease and the average pet owner cannot meet their needs in captivity,” Beth Preiss of the Humane Society of the United States told The Associated Press in 2010. 

Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.

Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.

About the Author

Fiza Pirani
Fiza Pirani
Fiza Pirani is a web producer and writer for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. She is also the editor behind AJC’s Pulse Magazine, a digital healthcare...