Ohio man accused of drugging his pet monkey wants pet back

Adam Kordes wants his monkey came back to him.

The black-headed capuchin monkey, named “Neo”, was seized from Kordes’ Westwood home in February by local animal control. The reason, according to a search warrant: A Florida veterinarian had seen videos of Neo, believed the monkey had ingested Xanax and/or cocaine, and was “in urgent need of veterinary attention.”

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Without care, according to the search warrant, Neo could die.

On Feb. 7, court documents say Kordes, 34, opened the door to his apartment and saw people “with guns in their hands.”

A spokesperson for Cincinnati Animal Care, the organization that provides animal control services to the county, confirmed that its deputies (known as dog guards) carry weapons in the field. He declined to comment on the matter.

Kordes has convictions dating back more than 10 years for drunk driving and disorderly conduct, according to court documents. He was involved in a serious car accident in 2017 that killed a passenger and led to charges of homicide while driving. Those charges were dismissed, according to Rabanus, because Kordes has no recollection of the accident and was deemed mentally incompetent to stand trial. He is still receiving medical treatment for his injuries, she said.

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Since Feb. 7, Kordes has been on a legal odyssey that culminated Thursday when a Hamilton County grand jury indicted him on cruelty to pets, a low-level felony punishable by up to a year in prison. Court documents indicate that the monkey’s urine tested positive for amphetamines.

Kordes’ attorney, Lisa Rabanus, said she has yet to see any reports of those tests because her public records requests have been denied. She also said that Neo is now in Florida.

Why?

“That’s one of the many questions I have,” Rabanus said.

She filed a motion asking a judge to return Neo to Kordes. Neo, she says, is her “emotional support animal.” A hearing is scheduled for May 12 in the Court of Common Pleas.

Local monkey rescue organization

A criminal case involving a captive monkey worth between $15,000 and $20,000 could be unprecedented in Hamilton County. Equally rare: On Thursday, a judge issued a written order, telling Kordes to “stay away from the companion/service monkey.”

A woman who runs what she describes as a monkey sanctuary in Clermont County is also implicated in the case.

Teresa Bullock of Misfitland Monkey Rescue in Moscow knows Kordes and went to his apartment on Feb. 6 after calling for help with Neo, who was around 6 or 7 months old at the time. Rabanus said Kordes purchased Neo in August 2021.

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Bullock told The Enquirer that Kordes texted him, saying Neo got chocolate, wasn’t “moving well” and was crying. Kordes told him that he also contacted a vet who said to give Neo hydrogen peroxide, to make Neo vomit.

Kordes replied to him later, saying that Neo had stopped crying. According to Bullock, Kordes said she was still welcome, but he now believed Neo would be fine.

Bullock went to Kordes’ apartment, anyway, armed with a syringe filled with charcoal to help clean out the monkey’s system. She told The Enquirer that she suspected Kordes gave “something” to Neo.

Once there, Bullock became concerned because Neo’s coordination “was completely off”. She said she tried to give Neo a burger on a plate, “but he couldn’t, with his hands, get the food from the plate to his mouth.”

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Bullock was also concerned that Kordes owned a capuchin monkey who died shortly before he had Neo. She thinks Kordes gave the other monkey drugs.

Bullock provided videos of Neo, apparently shot Feb. 6, to his friend, Florida vet Jodi Thannum. On Feb. 7, Thannum called Cincinnati Animal Care, according to the search warrant, saying Kordes had a monkey “who was given narcotics, such as adult amounts of Xanax and/or cocaine(e),” and warned that the monkey could die.

Two weeks after Kordes’ home was raided, he was charged with two counts of animal cruelty. These charges were ultimately dismissed.

Second search warrant

Then, on March 3, Cincinnati Animal Care requested a second search warrant to seize all narcotics, including amphetamines, from Kordes’ apartment. He was searched the next day and he was arrested because a shotgun was found in the house (it had belonged to his grandfather, Rabanus said, and Kordes didn’t even know it was in the apartment). Because Kordes had previously been deemed incompetent to stand trial, he is not allowed to possess a firearm.

Kordes’ gun and prescriptions were seized, and prosecutors sought to charge him with criminal cruelty to pets. But a grand jury ignored that charge on March 11. He remains charged with unlawful possession of a firearm.

Days after the grand jury decided not to indict him, Rabanus asked a Hamilton County City Court judge to order Neo to be “immediately returned” to Kordes. That request was denied, though Rabanus claims there were numerous legal issues with Neo’s seizure, including that Cincinnati Animal Care did not hold a hearing before a judge to determine whether there were enough evidence for seizure.

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This law exists, she said, to provide safe measures for the care and custody of an animal, if it is not returned to its owner.

“Although animals are still considered property under the law,” she said in a court filing, “the fact that animals live, breathe and feel sentient beings requires this special hearing, which protects the due process rights of both the owner and the animal.”

Prosecutors again took the case to a grand jury, which on Thursday indicted Kordes for the felony of cruelty to pets. He is free on personal bail.