Lemurs caught after scratching girl

2 lemurs escape from cage at North Miami Beach home

NORTH MIAMI BEACH, Fla. – Two lemurs were captured early Monday morning after they escaped from their cages and one scratched a 2-year-old girl.

About 2 a.m., North Miami Beach Police received the call about the lemurs which were loose near 2049 NE 173rd Street.

"This is the first time I've been dispatched to a call like this," said North Miami Beach Police Sgt. Richard Rand.

Officers arrived to find one lemur in a tree and the other one block away.

A 2-year-old girl, who was returning home with her parents, was scratched as she got out of her family's car when the lemur jumped into her arms. The child suffered scratches to her face and was treated at the scene.

Surveillance video showed a dog barking at one of the lemurs as it walked across a fence.

"They were scared. They were running around. Everybody was chasing them, a lot of lights," said Julio Hincapie, who owns the lemurs.

Officers have reunited the lemurs with Hincapie. Police say he claims someone broke into the cages in his back yard by cutting the lock.

"Someone was trying to steal two of my lemurs," said Hincapie.

"He walks around with them like anybody, just like a regular pet. Instead of having a dog, he got a monkey," said neighbor Carlos Lezcano.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission says it's common for people to have pet lemurs, but owners must have proper permits.

There are three permit levels:

  • For animals that can kill

  • For animals that can maim

  • For harmless animals

  • Lemurs fall under the second category. Although Hincapie has the proper cage, the FWS says his permit expired in 2008.