A heartbroken animal lover has described how her pet monkey died of depression after being thrown into the boot of a car by a thief.
Alvin, the South American marmoset, was taken by Paul Murtagh when he burgled a home in Co Kildare.
Murtagh threw Alvin into the boot of his car and sped away. Police intercepted him following a tip off and found Alvin still in the boot, distressed and afraid. He was returned to his owner but sadly died a few weeks later.
Alvin’s owner, Jennifer Murphy said: “He got depressed after the ordeal. His hair started falling out and he was just never the same again.
“He used to be very playful. He would climb on top of my shoulder and play with my ponytail. The kids loved Alvin as well.
‘I could never get another monkey again’
“I always wanted a monkey. Ever since I was five years old it was a dream of mine because they are so intelligent. But I could never get another monkey again. It just would not be the same.”
Unemployed Murtagh avoided a jail sentence but was ordered to do 80 hours of community service.
Marmosets have become a popular pet in recent years due to their cute appearance and playful nature. They are one of the smallest breeds of monkey and a full grown adult can weigh little more than a pound.
They do however, require a great deal of care and attention, with specific foods and environment needed to imitate their natural habitat.