CHURCH HILL — A 19-year-old macaque monkey named Josie now has a permanent home, and the Church Hill woman who abandoned her caged in a sweltering hot mobile home can no longer own animals without court permission.
Lisa Jean Wade, 41, pleaded guilty Tuesday in Hawkins County Sessions Court to two counts of animal cruelty stemming from the July 10 discovery of Josie and a dead dog in her mobile home.
Wade was sentenced to 11 months and 29 days of probation, 96 hours of community service, and was ordered to pay $908 in fines and fees.
Judge Todd Ross also issued an order stating Wade may not own any animals, nor be responsible for the care of any animals without the court’s approval.
“Extreme and long-term neglect”
Primate expert Janie Coke, who is a member of the Simian Society of America, evaluated Josie at the Hawkins County Humane Society shortly after the monkey was rescued from Wade’s trailer.
Coke concluded that Josie had suffered “extreme and long-term neglect” and was one-quarter the weight of an adult macaque.
“I am unsure how she survived,” Coke said.
Coke added, “She suffers from extreme malnourishment and dehydration, and is in fact skin covering bones.”
“Happy and healthy and spoiled”
On Tuesday, Ross also awarded custody of Josie to the HCHS for placement.
The HCHS had already placed Josie in foster care with a woman who is also a member of the Simian Society of America and who has owned primates for 24 years. Her name and the location of her home were not released.
HCHS manager Sandy Behnke told the Times News Wednesday that woman now officially owns Josie, and they both visited the HCHS shelter in Rogersville Tuesday to say goodbye.
In her new home, Josie has free reign of the house and goes into her cage only when she travels, Behnke said. Her favorite things to do are watch TV, play with her toys, or just look out the window.
“Josie is very happy and healthy and spoiled, and her life is so much better now in her new home,” Behnke said Wednesday. “She’s getting a proper diet — no more juice boxes — and she has gained three pounds, which is a lot for her. It’s a major improvement from the Josie we rescued in that trailer who was malnourished, dehydrated and just skin and bones.”
How Josie was saved
On July 10, the Church Hill Police Department responded to a report of possible animal cruelty at 1268 Burlington Road, Lot 1, which was reported as Wade’s residence, although Wade told police she hadn’t been there for weeks.
According to a CHPD report, Wade told police she had been staying with family in Lot 9 of the same mobile home park for about three months due to not having electricity in the Lot 1 residence.
Wade also reportedly stated that she had recently taken in an injured dog that had died several days earlier, and she hadn’t had time to dispose of it.
Not fit for humans or animals
Upon entering Lot 1, police reportedly found the interior of the residence to be in excess of 100 degrees with no open windows for ventilation.
The dead dog was found in a bathtub, and Josie was located inside a cage with no access to food or water.
Police said the interior of the residence was not fit for human or animal habitation due to extreme trash, feces, and an unbearable odor.
Wade reportedly told police she hadn’t been inside the residence for about three weeks and thought her daughter was caring for the animals.
Another animal cruelty case
In an unrelated case, a Hawkins County man who allegedly abandoned nine dogs to starve at a mobile home park near Church Hill last month has agreed to surrender the eight surviving dogs to the HCHS.
Benjamin James Reece, 35, 352 Payne Ridge Road, Lot 5, Church Hill, was arraigned Wednesday in Hawkins County Sessions Court, where he formally surrendered the dogs, and Ross set his bond at $2,500.
Reece had been held in the Hawkins County Jail without bond since being arrested in Mountain City Aug. 28 on a Hawkins County Sheriff’s Office warrant charging him with nine counts of aggravated animal cruelty. His next court date is Oct. 2.