New Orleans "Street Act" Found Guilty On All Charges In Orleans Parish Court

Release Date: 07/08/2011

A man and a woman were found guilty in Orleans Parish Court for cruelty to animals and not having the proper permit to possess a non-human primate on July 7.

Joan Susanne Newberger (aka Joan S. Poole), 64, of Rio Hondo, Texas, and James Wells Poole, 62, of St. Augustine, Fla, had four monkeys confiscated on Bourbon Street in New Orleans by Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agents.

LDWF agents observed the two subjects performing their "street act" with the monkeys dressed in pirate costumes and touching the public.  Agents issued two citations to the subjects on Feb. 26, 2011 for cruelty to animals and failing to have the correct permits to possess a non-human primate. LDWF agents also apprehended the monkeys at that time.

The Honorable Judge Sean Early waived any fines and ordered Newberger and Poole to forfeit the monkeys to the state.  The monkeys will be donated to the Louisiana Purchase Zoo and Gardens in Monroe where they have been living since being confiscated.

During the course of the LDWF investigation, evidence of numerous violations, citations and complaints to police in at least three states regarding alleged illegal animal possession, animal sales and cruel treatment of animals was discovered.  The investigation discovered a history of disregard for both federal and state permitting and license regulations.  The investigation also showed a willing intent to profit from the exhibition of primates with disregard for public health and safety due to alleged monkey biting incidents found in official police reports.

The LDWF Enforcement Division would like to recognize the assistance of Putnam and Columbia County Sheriff’s Offices in Florida, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the United States Department of Agriculture Investigators whom all provided evidence and displayed a vested interest in the just adjudication of these violators.  LDWF would also like to recognize the full cooperation of the director and staff of the Louisiana Purchase Zoo and Gardens in Monroe.

The office of District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro prosecuted the case and included lead attorney Bernard J. Blair II, J. Bryant Clark, Naomi Jones and Mark Burton.

Agents involved in the case included Captain Steve McManus and Senior Agents Tim Fox and Jason Gernados.  LDWF Large Carnivore Program Manager Maria Davidson also provided assistance in the case.

For more information, contact Adam Einck at aeinck@wlf.la.gov.