October 21, 2003
By VINCE LENNON
6 News Reporter
JACKSBORO (WATE) -- After several residents of College Hill, near LaFollette, said they've seen a loose primate on their property, the sheriff's department has opened an investigation.
Residents have theorized that the primate could have escaped or been left behind by a carnival.
So 6 News Tuesday checked on a carnival held at Woodson's Mall in LaFollette in August.
The carnival's occupational license was made out for Carousel Amusements. Its owner gave the same answer to 6 News and mall's property manager Mike Orick.
"Michael Parks, who's the owner, told us that wasn't true, that he has never owned a monkey and would never own one. It wasn't part of his permitting for the carnival," Orick said.
Finding a license for the circus held two months ago at the local National Guard armory was more difficult. The last licensed circus wasn't the one that performed there.
Armory officials said they rented the space to Circus Pages of Myakka City, Florida, but the phone number is disconnected.
Campbell County 911 operators said they've taken at least seven calls on the possible primate in the last week.
Capt. Don Farmer with the Campbell County Sheriff's Department said no official investigation was underway until Tuesday because no residents have filed official complaints. "We'll assign an investigator to look forward and a little deeper into this matter."
Another premise some residents offer is that the animal escaped from a private, local owner.
Campbell County officers warn anyone who sees the animal not to attempt capturing it. It's considered dangerous. Instead, any sighting should be reported immediately to LaFollette Animal Control at (423)-566-1383.