A pet monkey was offered cocaine by its owner before being flushed down a lavatory, a court heard on Friday.
Vicki Holland pleaded guilty to three offences against the Animal Welfare Act after footage emerged of her enticing her pet marmoset to lick cocaine off her fingers.
In a separate video, Holland, from Newport in Wales, can be heard laughing as she tries to flush the primate down the lavatory, as the terrified animal clings desperately to the rim of the bowl.
The monkey’s treatment was shown to the RSPCA after videos were found by Gwent Police on Holland’s phone, which was recovered during a drugs raid on her home.
Prosecutor Aled Watkins said that despite marmosets having a “very particular set of needs”, Holland provided no UVB lighting for the monkey and its cage was “devoid of decor needed for environmental enrichment”.
The monkey had also been fed a diet of burgers, sausages, kebabs and processed ham, the court heard.
“This is deliberate infliction, this isn’t neglect,” Mr Watkins told magistrates.
Holland’s phone contained 22 “very disturbing” videos involving the marmoset, the court heard. Three were shown to the court, including one which Mr Watkins said showed the marmoset in a “very distressed state”, cowering inside the lavatory.
Holland can be heard in the video saying “I need the toilet” and “shall I flush it?”. The lavatory then flushes and Holland calls the animal a “f—— t—“.
In another video, Holland can be heard telling the animal: “Want some coke? Lick my fingers.”
‘Deeply embarrassed and deeply ashamed’
Mr Watkins said there was other evidence of Holland’s dog chasing the marmoset, which had “free rein” of the house in a “dangerous environment” around knives and electrical outlets.
Scott Bowen, defending, said Holland was “deeply embarrassed and deeply ashamed of her behaviour”. He added that she fully accepts she “shouldn’t have had the animal in the first place”.
Mr Bowen said the monkey had experienced “distress” but there was “no long-term damage” to the animal, which was handed over to the RSPCA during the investigation. It was later transferred to specialist primate experts at Monkey World in Dorset for ongoing care.
Magistrates in Newport heard that Holland informed the RSPCA that she had sold the marmoset a week earlier. However, the marmoset was later found at another address.
Holland was banned from keeping all animals for life and given a 12-week jail term, suspended for 12 months. She was also ordered to pay £420 in costs and a £128 victim surcharge.
Speaking after sentencing, Sophie Daniels, an RSPCA inspector, said: “I was immediately and gravely concerned about the welfare of this marmoset when I saw these disturbing videos.
“Videos from the defendant’s phone showed Holland offering the marmoset cocaine, while another showed the clearly terrified marmoset down a toilet bowl. Holland was shouting, swearing, laughing and at one point in the clip, the toilet is flushed, showing the petrified animal struggling to cling onto the side of the bowl.
“An independent vet soon confirmed that the marmoset was suffering unnecessarily as a result of the way she had been treated.
“We’d like to thank Gwent Police for their assistance in this case, along with Monkey World who have provided a forever home for the marmoset. Thankfully, this monkey is now getting the care they deserve after such shocking mistreatment.”
Holland previously appeared in court in May this year, where she was ordered to pay more than £4,000 over a cocaine haul found hidden in Kinder eggs. She was caught when police raided her house and found the drugs hidden inside the chocolate sweets’ plastic capsules.
Holland was with her partner Russell Cox, 43, when officers raided the house, seizing drug paraphernalia and £1,600 worth of cocaine.
The pair admitted possession with intent to supply a class-A drug at Newport Crown Court.
Cox, from Cwmbran, south Wales was jailed for 30 months and Holland was jailed for 20 months, suspended for two years in November last year.
A Proceeds of Crime hearing was told the couple made almost £40,000 from their cocaine business.