PETA Statement on Sentencing of ‘The Monkey Whisperer,’ Chris Brown’s Monkey Dealer

For Immediate Release:
June 8, 2022

Robin Goist 202-483-7382

Tampa, Fla. – Earlier today, a federal judge in Tampa, Florida, sentenced exotic-animal dealer Jimmy Wayne Hammonds (aka “The Monkey Whisperer”) to five years of probation, including less than a year of home detention, and a $90,000 fine. Hammonds pleaded guilty in March to a felony charge of conspiracy to commit wildlife trafficking—stemming from his notorious sale of a capuchin monkey to singer Chris Brown—and three counts of violating the Endangered Species Act for selling endangered cotton-top tamarins to individuals in Alabama, South Carolina, and Wisconsin. Please see the following statement from PETA Foundation Associate Director of Captive Animal Law Enforcement Michelle Sinnott in response to the sentencing:

This brazen career criminal got off easy, but the conviction alone should be enough to keep him out of the monkey-exploitation business as long as federal officials do their jobs and revoke his federal Animal Welfare Act license. PETA is calling on the U.S. Department of Justice to use this case as a jumping-off point to relentlessly pursue the other Hammondses of the world and hold them accountable for trafficking animals for a buck.

PETA sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Agriculture urging the agency to revoke Hammonds’ federal Animal Welfare Act license, which would prohibit him from legally selling exotic animals for the pet trade. In 2017, PETA alerted California officials to Brown’s unlawful possession of the capuchin, which resulted in the animal’s seizure by the state and two misdemeanor charges levied at Brown. According to the search warrant affidavit, it was PETA’s complaint regarding Brown that triggered law enforcement to investigate Hammonds.

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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind