Chris Brown has been hit with criminal charges over his pet capuchin monkey.
Brown came under fire last December (17) when he posted a video showing his daughter Royalty, who was three at the time, playing around with an exotic monkey named Fiji, and several concerned members of the public notified officials at the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, who opened an investigation and found Chris did not have an exotic pet permit.
He has now been charged over the animal. According to legal documents obtained by TMZ.com, the Los Angeles City Attorney is charging the 29-year-old with two counts of having a restricted species without a permit. The offence carries a maximum sentence of six months in jail.
The singer is scheduled to appear in court to answer to the charges on 6 February (19).
In January, it was reported that Chris had been forced to surrender Fiji to the authorities. They had obtained a search warrant for his home, but he voluntarily agreed to hand over the monkey before his property was raided.
At the time, his lawyer Mark Geragos told TMZ, “As I leave my office in Downtown L.A. and walk past people sleeping on the street on my way to defend people charged by the City Attorney with selling medical marijuana… now spending taxpayer money on investigating monkey business, this completes the circle on his absurdity.”
Under California law, it is illegal to keep certain exotic species, including monkeys, poisonous snakes, lizards and other dangerous animals, without a permit.
Chris is not the first celebrity to get into a spot of legal trouble over a capuchin monkey – in 2013, Justin Bieber’s own pet Mally was seized by customs officials in Munich, Germany after he failed to produce vaccination and import papers. Justin eventually decided to give up ownership of his pet, leaving the primate to start a new life at a German animal park.