Bill Would Permit Service Monkeys To Help Paralyzed People

Jan 20, 2014

Kentucky legislators may soon debate whether to allow service monkeys to assist paralyzed adults with simple household tasks.


Sen. John Schickel says his bill comes at the request of a family in his northern Kentucky district. The family wants to use a service monkey to assist their daughter, who was paralyzed in an automobile accident.

The bill's critics include Sarah Baeckler Davis, executive director of the North American Primate Sanctuary Alliance. She says monkeys are wild animals that don't belong in homes.

Since 1979, the group Helping Hands: Monkey Helpers has trained capuchin monkeys to help paralyzed adults with simple tasks, such as picking up dropped items or flipping on light switches.

The group's executive director, Megan Talbert, says the monkeys are "safe and wonderful" companions.