Day 1 in trial over legality of Hendry County monkey farms

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CLEWISTON, Fla. – Dozens of people filled a Hendry County courtroom Monday in support of a lawsuit that states that the county violated state laws by failing to notify nearby landowners about plans to place a monkey farm in their neighborhood.

The county’s attorney has declined comment during the trial, but the county has maintained that it did nothing wrong. The land is zoned for agricultural use and any type of animal is allowed, according to county spokespeople.

But many residents said Monday that the feel the county tried to keep plans for the facility a secret.

“If i knew that was happening, I would’ve been in there stomping my feet and yelling and screaming,” said Denise Eberle, who lives a mile away from the monkey farm. “They didn’t want anyone to know about it.”

Others, like Keely Cinkota who also lives a mile from the facility, said they simply do not appreciate living near monkeys.

“I moved out to that area to my neighborhood to have peace and quiet — not to have a facility that is going to be breeding thousands of monkeys,” she said.

The trial will determine whether the monkey facilities are allowed to stay in Hendry County under current zoning laws.

The second day of the trial will resume tomorrow. There will not be an immediate decision made in the trial. The judge will submit a ruling on the case within the next few weeks.

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