CINCINNATI — Police on Thursday have yet to locate monkeys that were reported on the loose near a cemetery late Wednesday.
At least two calls were made to Cincinnati police about the monkeys, but dispatchers were not able to make further contact with the callers, police said. Officers investigated the area, but no monkeys were sighted.
The report may have been misinformation, but police are taking it seriously, said Cincinnati police Sgt. Jacob Hicks. No officers have reported seeing the monkeys in St. Joseph Cemetery, he said.
Stephen Bitner, president of Cincinnati Catholic Cemetery Society, which owns St. Joseph Cemetery, said the cemetery has checked its security cameras and saw no activity.
The cemetery does have a flock of wild turkeys, he said.
“Wild turkeys nest in trees, so the question is were they nesting in the trees, because whoever filmed and put on social media, it was through the power lines because you can see the power lines in the video.”
Bruce VanHook, who manages the cemetery, was there at 6:30 a.m. and has been watching the cemetery with Bitner.
“We have patrolled for probably the last two hours and we cannot see anything that is similar to a monkey,” Bitner said.
The cemetery property borders privately owned woods that stretch about a half of a mile away, he said.
A video was circulating Facebook, allegedly showing the monkeys in a tree.
Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden spokeswoman Michelle Curley told The Enquirer, part of the USA TODAY Network, that the zoo wasprepared to respond if needed.
“We are evaluating the situation to see if there’s anything we can do to assist the Cincinnati Police Department. Nothing could be done in the dark,” Curley said.
Officers first responded to the city’s West Side around 10 p.m. Wednesday after residents reported seeing the monkeysswinging from trees at St. Joseph Cemetery, according to Fox 19. They left the scene after not being able to find anything but said they planned to return later Thursday morning.
There are no details yet about the species or confirmation on where they came from, but the primates are reportedly taller than a garbage can, WKRC-TV reported.
Police also said no one claiming to own monkeys has made a report. Earlier, FOX19 said police believed the monkeys may have escaped from a home.
Ohio’s exotic-animal law enacted in 2012 banned private owners from acquiring, selling and breeding restricted species in Ohio, according to the Columbus Dispatch, part of the USA TODAY Network.
The restricted list includes lions, tigers, bears, elephants certain monkeys, rhinos, alligators, crocodiles, anacondas and pythons longer than 12 feet, certain vipers and all venomous snakes.
Owners who have registered the animals they have – and met caging and care standards set out in the law – can keep their animals as long as they live. But they can’t buy new ones or breed those they have.
Ohioans are allowed to own marmosets, capuchins, lemurs, and squirrel monkeys, according to the Department of Agriculture. Other species are considered dangerous wild animals in Ohio.