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Last week, The Virginian-Pilot ran a story about an exotic animal dealer whose property has been under a tuberculosis quarantine ever since monkeys were discovered dead earlier this year. Gayle O’Neal breeds and sells capuchin monkeys; the quarantine has put a temporary stop to her business.

What was particularly interesting to us was that one monkey who tested positive for TB was from a group of 13 monkeys purchased from a Florida company in September 2006. So far, two monkeys have been found dead on O’Neal’s property, and another two were euthanized after tests found evidence of possible TB infection. Primates carry a number of diseases, such as tuberculosis, that can be transmitted to humans.

The story is further evidence of why one of ARFF’s priorities in next year’s legislative session will be to prohibit the breeding, and private possession, of dangerous exotic animals.

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