It might not seem like veteran Seattle talk host Ken Schram and pop star Justin Bieber would have a lot in common, but it turns out they have similar taste in pets. Both Schram and Bieber were owners of capuchin monkeys.
“I bought a monkey after I got out of the service. You know who I bought him from? Leonard Nimoy,” said Schram, while guest hosting on KIRO Radio’s Luke Burbank Show
He explained he first spent time around monkeys while in Vietnam. “We had a monkey in the unit that just was awesome. So when I heard that there were monkeys for sale that Leonard Nimoy had, I went down there and bought a monkey.”
Bieber has been making headlines lately for his treatment of his monkey, which he left at an animal shelter in Germany after it was confiscated for not having the proper immunization documentation when he landed in the country on tour.
A spokesman for Munich’s customs office said the teenage singer had until midnight Friday to contact them, otherwise capuchin monkey Mally would be transferred to a permanent home at a zoo or animal park elsewhere in Germany.
Fellow monkey owner Schram can’t see how Bieber could just leave his monkey at the shelter.
“I’m perplexed because you form a real bond with these animals and if he has had this monkey for any period of time whatsoever, the two of them have bonded at some level,” said Schram. “I can’t imagine why he would just leave this poor little monkey at some animal shelter in Munich.”
When Schram was a monkey owner, he took the monkey with him everywhere. “During the day, that monkey literally went everywhere with me, loved riding in the car, loved it on the shoulder, take him to the beach.”
He said it would wake him up by pelting monkey chow at him, and it really enjoyed playing with him and his German Shepard puppy. “They really enjoyed each other’s company.”
The shelter has criticized Bieber for keeping such a young monkey, currently 20-weeks old, as a pet, saying it shouldn’t have been taken away from its mother until it was a year old. Experts say capuchin monkeys also need to be kept in groups as they are very sociable animals.
“The best thing would be not to buy one at all, but if you do, buy five,” said shelter manager Karl Heinz Joachim.
Emails from Bieber’s management to the animal shelter have indicated the singer doesn’t want the monkey anymore.
Schram said monkeys are a lot of responsibility and given the choice again, he probably would not want to own another monkey.
“It’s like having a child because that monkey needs to be cared for,” said Schram. “I would never, ever, ever, ever, even if I could ever own a monkey again. It’s not a good life for the monkey, I don’t think.”
Bieber will face a bill for thousands of euros (dollars) for his pet monkey’s two-month stay at the shelter.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.