Woman with PTSD fights Mo. city law to keep 3 emotional support monkeys

CREVE COEUR, Mo. (KMOV/CNN) - A Missouri woman and her doctor say her three emotional support monkeys are vital to her mental well-being, but her neighbors worry the primates are dangerous.

Texanne McBride-Teahan lives in Creve Coeur, Mo., with three monkeys, which are all registered as emotional support animals to help with her post-traumatic stress disorder.

"They are not dangerous animals. They are trained. They assist me. I have PTSD because of something that happened to me, a very bad thing that happened to me a long time ago,” she said at a city council meeting.

McBride-Teahan says she has lived and trained with monkeys for 20 years, and it wasn’t until she moved to Creve Coeur a month ago that a neighbor complained. That neighbor, who saw one of the monkeys outside, was worried about it attacking and called the city.

"It’s a wild animal. They belong in zoos, you know, or in their natural habitat,” said Jim Hentschell, who lives next door to McBride-Teahan. “I believe in the rule of law. If they are considered a dangerous animal and can carry something as nasty as hepatitis, they shouldn’t be here.”

Neighbors are so concerned about the monkeys that they brought up the issue at Monday’s city council meeting, forcing McBride-Teahan to defend them.

McBride-Teahan says the monkeys would never hurt anyone, and they bring her so much comfort. In addition, her doctor provided a note saying the primates have been “prescribed” as emotional support animals.

“It is my professional opinion that the presence of these animals is a necessary treatment for the mental health of Ms. McBride-Teahan,” read the note in part.

Even so, the city of Creve Coeur has cited McBride-Teahan. According to the city, non-human primates are considered “inherently dangerous animals,” alongside lions, alligators and pythons. None are allowed in residential areas.

McBride-Teahan has a court hearing in November, at which a judge will decide what will happen to the monkeys.

Copyright 2019 KMOV, Texanne McBride-Teahan via CNN. All rights reserved.