The U.S. Department of Agriculture has officially terminated exotic animal dealer Jim Hammonds’ Animal Welfare Act license, according to PETA.
The animal rights organization previously submitted a complaint to the USDA about Florida-based Hammonds, a.k.a. “The Monkey Whisperer,” listing his convictions including felony conspiracy to commit wildlife trafficking and three counts of violating the Endangered Species Act.
Hammonds, who is best known for selling a capuchin monkey to Chris Brown, is blocked from legally selling primates for the pet trade for at least a year. “Exotic animals are not pets, playthings, or props for celebrities, and they’re not business transactions either,” said PETA Foundation Director of Captive Animal Law Enforcement Michelle Sinnott in a press statement. “PETA is celebrating the USDA’s decision to strip this felon of a license before he could exploit additional vulnerable animals.”
In March 2022, Hammonds pleaded guilty to wildlife trafficking charges, with court documents claiming that the breeder illegally sold the singer the capuchin monkey back in 2017 for a total of $12,650. Prosecutors further alleged that Hammonds conducted the sale in Nevada to make it appear that a resident of the state had purchased the primate, since possessing one as a pet is illegal in Brown’s home state of California. In June, Hammonds was sentenced to five years probation and more than $90,000 in fines for violating federal wildlife laws.
Brown was forced to turn the capuchin over in 2017. Brown faced misdemeanor charges but was not named in the federal case against Hammond.