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Animal Rights Florida Meetup Message Board › Libel Circus monkey returned

Libel Circus monkey returned

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Ima A.
user 4950345
Group Organizer
Orlando, FL
Post #: 30­ggie22042209apr22,0,1196926.story
Monkey that ran away is back with circus after 6 weeks
Martin E. Comas and Susan Jacobson
Sentinel Staff Writers
April 22, 2009

Twinkies, potato chips and a cold can of Coca-Cola were the bait that lured Reggie the spider monkey out of the wild and back to his old life with a traveling circus.

After almost six weeks on the loose, Reggie is back with his owner, Tom Liebel.

"He's back, and he loves us," Liebel said. "He's a little skinny. He's lost weight. ... But I think he had time to think about it, and he would rather be here with me and his wife [Priscilla, another of Liebel's spider monkeys]."

The reunion was mourned by the Animal Rights Foundation of Florida, which lamented in a statement that Reggie was rejoining his life of "deprivation and confinement." Animal-rights groups have tussled with the circus.

"We wish him luck in his future jail breaks!" wrote foundation coordinator Carla Wilson.

For years, Reggie has performed with the Liebling Brothers Circus. But on March 13, he slipped out of his leash at North Lake Flea Market in Fruitland Park, where the circus was performing, and scampered into nearby woods. A loud argument between the circus owners and a People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals activist scared him.

Monday morning, residents and employees of Twin Palms Resort and Marina spotted the small monkey swinging from a post.

"It scared the bejesus out of me," said Bill Nichols, the property manager.

Residents called the Lake County Sheriff's Office, which contacted Liebel at his Davenport home.

"Me and Priscilla hopped in the wagon, and we drove 65 mph [to Fruitland Park]," Liebel said. Meanwhile, Twin Palms residents fed Reggie cookies, potato chips and Twinkies. They also handed him a can of Coke, which the monkey poured on the ground and then sipped up.

When Liebel arrived, he let Priscilla loose and she smacked her sweetie a good one, residents said. Tuesday morning, the two primates rested in a large cage outside Liebel's home in Davenport.

"I think he had time to think," Liebel said. "He's now together with his wife."

Martin E. Comas can be reached at or 352-742-5927. Susan Jacobson can be reached at 407-540-5981 or
Copyright © 2009, Orlando Sentinel

The Daily Commercial
I'll be a monkey's wife
Staff Writer

FRUITLAND PARK -- He may really make a monkey out of himself this time, complete with a monkey suit.
Reggie, the horseback-riding spider money, plans to renew his vows with his "wife" Priscilla next week, after being on the run from the circus for more than five weeks and captured Monday.
Tom Liebel, the circus owner, hopes to make the wedding part of a welcome-back celebration for Reggie next week -- tuxedo, wedding dress and all.
"They have been hugging each other so much, I just felt it was a good thing to do," Liebel said.
Before the nuptials, however, Reggie will make his return to the big top this weekend to perform his usual acts, riding a horse in a cowboy suit and blowing kisses to the crowd.
"It's something the crowd loves," Liebel said.
Reggie apparently was spooked by a People for the Ethical Treatment official before a performance for the Leibling Brothers Circus in Fruitland Park on March 13, and broke from his leash and hopped into a nearby wooded area.
Liebel, of Polk County, had been trying to catch him since. His attempts were futile until Reggie was spotted at the Twin Palms Resort and Marina early Monday, hanging from a storage shelter.
An animal control officer was contacted, and then Liebel.
Liebel was able to coax the monkey with bananas, nachos and a Coke, which he sipped with Priscilla in front of Reggie in an effort to get him to come closer.
Priscilla allegedly slapped Reggie a few times before they started hugging. Liebel said with the monkey being domesticated, it couldn't have lived in the woods long.
"I guess he was tired of the dumpster surfing and cockroaches," Liebel said with a laugh.
But not everyone seems to be going bananas about Reggie's return. The Animal Rights Foundation of Florida sent out a press release Tuesday expressing their disappointment with Reggie's capture.
"We knew that this day would come, but we were hoping Reggie could enjoy his freedom for a little longer," said ARFF coordinator Carla Wilson. "Sadly, Reggie will now rejoin the circus and his previous life of deprivation and confinement."
Wilson said there are a number of Pharaoh spider monkeys living in the Florida woods and Reggie shouldn't have had any big problems adapting. She called any wedding between the two monkeys a publicly stunt designed to throw the media and public's attention away from circuses' treatment of animals.
Minutes before Reggie broke away from the circus on March 13, a PETA official had led a Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission official to the circus, where the FWC gave the Liebel family a warning for an expired permit that allows the show's elephant, Nosey, to give children rides.
They also cited the circus for the monkey escaping.
Liebel said Reggie had escaped one time during a circus stop in the Midwest. He was found a few days later -- riding a horse on a farm.
"We wish him luck in his future jail breaks," Wilson said.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009 -­ey

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