The Frederick Keys have scheduled a Cowboy Monkey Rodeo as part of their May 31 game — an event they have held annually for some years.

As a Frederick County homeowner and a lover of both baseball and animals, I urge the Keys to stop this archaic and cruel practice.

Cowboy Monkey Rodeos involve dressing capuchin monkeys in cowboy outfits and tethering them to saddles on the backs of border collies who run at high speeds around a field herding sheep. A Humane Society of the U.S. fact sheet says the dogs can reach speeds of 30 mph and abruptly turn or stop, causing the monkeys to violently jerk forwars and backward and slide wildly from side to side.

Tim "Wild Thang" Lepard, who runs the Monkey Rodeo under the name Team Ghost Riders, has been cited by the U.S. Department of Agriculture for violating the Animal Welfare Act. At one point, his truck lost a muffler on a road trip and all his animals died of carbon monoxide poisoning.

In 2016, Pat O’Conner, president and CEO of Minor League Baseball, said: “Minor League Baseball neither supports nor encourages the practice of using animal acts of any kind, especially animal acts for which the Humane Society has expressed serious concerns, to entertain our great fans.”

Frederick is a small city with big-city sophistication. Many people find Monkey Rodeos offensive — and we have so many better ways to entertain ourselves in this day and age!

According to the North American Primate Sanctuary Alliance, the Frederick Keys are among the last teams to continue hosting Monkey Rodeos, after dozens of baseball teams and fairs have stopped. It is time for the Keys to also stop these archaic and cruel shows, and move into the 21st century.

Alysoun Mahoney

Thurmont

(54) comments

danielleroche

Thanks for this information Alysoun! It was very informative. I would like to see the Frederick Keys remove this type of entertainment from their games. It is not only outdated but also barbaric. In a world where there is so much talent to be seen, animal abuse in not necessary. Frederick Keys, please use this opportunity to remove the monkey rodeo from your entertainment platform and replace this type of cruelty with local talented people who have a lot to offer! Until then, I will not be attending any more Frederick Keys games. I urge others to boycott the Frederick Keys games, to give voice to the animals that have no ability to stand up for themselves. They do not want to be a part of this entertainment, let’s be the voice they do not have!

HappySeller2014

Poor Keyote...is he next to go? And the human(s) who dress up in him and run around in 90+ degree heat all game long?

Thos monkeys are well taken care of. If not, the business owner would have no business. Just like carriage ride horses. And show ponies. And Kennel Club competition dogs. And catoctin Zoo animals. And animals shown at all the local weekly carnivals throughout Frederick County. And animals at the GFF every fall. Lotsa chickens and rabbits in cages everywhere! Oh the horror!

We eat animals. And, we should have no problem watching them entertain us. Except Mexican bullfights...i am no fan of those.

Everyone enjoy the monkeys at the game this evening. As a nice gesture, bring a can of dog food to any protestors, who can bring it to the Frederick County animal shelter, where horrendously abused animals await their fates.

danielleroche

Dear Happy Seller,

Thanks for your comment. I would like to add that the monkey rodeo is just as bad as the “Mexican bull fights” (I believe you mean the bullfighting that occurs in Spain). I can see you have compassion in your heart as you feel using bulls for entertainment is wrong. Please know that a monkey rodeo is unnatural for animals involved, and is not something they would want to be doing. They are forced to perform due to the negative reinforcement training they endure in order to “learn” these tricks. Please use this time to learn about the realities of animal abuse!! Have a great day.

threecents

Thanks Danielle. I did not know that there are picadors who stab the monkeys prior to the rodeos. Thanks for putting it in perspective.

TheDwayyo

What evidence do you have that the animals are 'well taken care of?' The letter provided evidence, included USDA penalties, that they are not. http://m.humanesociety.org/sites/default/files/archive/assets/pdfs/abuse/cowboy_monkeys_fact_sheet.pdf

boundsee

So they're deleting negative comments on their FB post, and I tweeted opposition at them and they blocked me. Classy PR move and classy organization. Luckily twitter still has my tweets up against them.

I just emailed the GM- might as well go high up. but it soulds like they want $$ over doing the right thing.

MarianneB

Paying to see terrified monkeys tied to the backs of stressed dogs is about as entertaining to caring people as a dog fight. Shame on the Frederick Keys and anyone who pays money to them for this animal abuse.

HappySeller2014

The monkeys are having fun and so are the dogs!

DLK21701

My comment posted before I was done, sonI am posting a complete comment.

Thank you for your thoughtful, informative, and right on the mark letter, Alysoun Mahoney. I am also a homeowner in Frederick County, and am appalled that the Frederick Keys have no compassion at all, and are once again going forward with this cruel form of what they call "entertainment." I have emailed the Keys asking them to cancel this event, but they haven't even bothered getting back to me to try to defend their intentions. As you pointed out, other minor league teams in other cities have stopped promoting this horrible spectacle due to the inherent cruelty. It is awful that Frederick is still allowing this to happen in the year 2019!
Experts have reported that monkeys forced to perform in these chaotic spectacles exhibit fear and anxiety and, saddest of all, a learned resignation to their own total helplessness. Monkeys used for “rodeos” are vulnerable to neck injuries, such as whiplash, which can easily occur when they’re subjected to repetitive high-speed accelerations on the backs of dogs as they run. The dogs may also inadvertently run the monkeys into hard objects, such as walls, fences, and poles. The “rodeo” exhibitor, Tim Lepard, has been cited numerous times by the U.S. Department of Agriculture for violating the federal Animal Welfare Act. His violations include keeping monkeys in unsanitary conditions, failing to provide adequate shelter and safety barriers, and repeatedly being unavailable for animal-welfare inspections.
The Monkey Rodeo should be cancelled!

DLK21701

Thank you for your thoughtful, informative, and right on the mark letter, Alysoun Mahoney. I am also a homeowner in Frederick County, and am appalled that the Frederick Keys have no compassion at all, and are once again going forward with this cruel form of what they call "entertainment." I have emailed the Keys asking them to cancel this event, but they haven't even bothered getting back to me to try to defend their intentions.

As you pointed out, other minor league teams in other cities have stopped promoting this horrible spectacle due to the inherent cruelty. It is awful that Frederick is still allowing this to happen in the year 2019!

And say, experts have reported that monkeys forced to perform in these chaotic spectacles exhibit fear and anxiety and, saddest of all, a learned resignation to their own total helplessness.

Monkeys used for “rodeos” are vulnerable to neck injuries, such as whiplash, which can easily occur when they’re subjected to repetitive high-speed accelerations on the backs of dogs as they run. The dogs may also inadvertently run the monkeys into hard objects, such as walls, fences, and poles.

The “rodeo” exhibitor, Tim Lepard, has been cited numerous times by the U.S. Department of Agriculture for violating the federal Animal Welfare Act. His violations include keeping monkeys in unsanitary conditions, failing to provide adequate shelter and safety barriers, and repeatedly being unavailable for animal-welfare inspections.

Tomball of those

Debbie Kula

Frederick, Maryland

Syuzanna

As one who loves all things Frederick ... this truly makes me sad , disappointed and frankly disgusted! Just think about the name alone - Monkey Rodeo!! My god we have lost our scruples . Does family fun have to involve abuse and cruelty and exploitation of animals ? In 2019 is the use of animals needed for a ball game ? Come on —- EVOLVE !!!! Let's show what Frederick is about ... compassion and love to all! If this actually goes on ... then is is truly shameful and I would never support any of my friends or family coming to visit for any venues ... you me might say who cares , it’s just one person BUT it’s not and in today’s world with online reviews, sponsors , and social media .... if there’s something wrong happening it will be called and it will effect the bottom line ... for now I’ll be hopeful that this horrid event does not happen !

HappySeller2014

All of the tree huggers are conspiculously absent from this discussion.

Yet trees are killed to provide the paper-based toilet paper in all of the stalls in the bathrooms at Nymeo Stadium.

Where is the outrage? The disgust? The horror?

Those poor dead trees. Just like those poor monkeys who are just out having fun! Do not get me started on all the poor dead cows who provided the leather for the player's gloves, belts, cleats, etc. Those poor cows died for the Keys.

threecents

Thanks Happy. I was beginning to think the other posters here were going to come at me with their cattle prods. They won't complain about billions of animals mistreated and slaughtered for their food, but don't you dare exploit a few monkeys.

lkp773

I absolutely support Alysoun’s letter, and I too urge the Frederick Keys to join the list of other teams and fairs that have decided to stop offering Monkey Rodeos. I’ve read the comments from readers who feel this event should continue—readers who feel that the dogs aren’t running too fast and that the monkeys are having fun. I would ask that the readers and the Frederick Keys consider this quote: When I observed these ‘cowboy monkeys’ performing, I saw fear, anxiety, and—the saddest of all—a blank expression of resignation and hopelessness, what psychologists refer to as ‘learned helplessness.’- Kari Bagnall, Founder and Executive Director, Jungle Friends Primate Sanctuary. The sad truth is that these monkeys are being taken from their mothers too early, are being forced to live in unnatural environments, and are trained to endure this activity. Let’s consider the lives of these animals, and let’s send a message to the children and youth of tomorrow that this type of animal exploitation is not ok.

ChooseCompassion

I sincerely thank you for writing this article that helps shed light on this barbaric and torturous display of animal cruelty and exploitation. So many people have worked tirelessly to put an end to this sickening event to no avail. I encourage every concerned person to contact all of the event sponsors so that a powerful message is sent on behalf of the exploited animals that have no voice.

HappySeller2014

I have never seen barbaric and torturous activity at any monkey rodeo. The Keys are well aware a lot of children attend their games, and this game. I am positive the Keys are not allowing barberic and tortoutous displays of abuse of monkeys, dogs, sheep, or even stray cats.

Maybe rodents or bugs, yes, but that is why you have exterminators.

These monkeys actually having fun. You should join in! And then go complain at the Charles Town Races 25 miles SW of Nymeo Field, where horses are whipped, break down, and sometimes die.

AlkaGracie

Monkeys are not domesticated animals, and keeping them in captivity is psychologically distressing to them. Have you stopped to ask about the conditions the monkeys are held in when they're not "participating" in the rodeo? Have you stopped to wonder where the monkeys came from, who their families were, whether they were taken from the wild or purchased from a roadside zoo? For exactly the reason you state, there won't necessarily be abuse on display -- but you can bet that it's happening behind the scenes. Re the horse races: You won't get an argument from me on that point--and I think it's probably the case that people who object to the monkey rodeo also object to horse racing. The fact that one activity is, by some metric, "worse" doesn't make the other one okay.

HappySeller2014

I am not willing to bet the monkeys are abused behind the scenes. Why would the owner sabatogue his own business?

tanvirkhan711

i think this is horrible! people should NOT be defending the use of animals as commodities, period! they are not for us but here with us... i think this perpetuation of dominant mentality is a reflection of our superiority complex as a species while we are responsible for the most damage upon this planet. this isn't a debate and people shouldn't even bother seeing how the "animals are treated" how would you like to see your mother being forced to perform in an establishment like this. obviously we are different but what about our differences makes them deserve to be seen as a play toy for you? couldn't find other ways to use or make money, or to be entertained? SICK.

HappySeller2014

Not defending use of animals as commodities? Are you serious?

We get milk from cows. Wool from sheep. Eggs from chickens. Pork bellies and livestock are part of the financial commodities markets.

And you find fault with animals providing entertainment? So no show horses at military parades? No National Kennel Club dog shows? No animal exhibits at the Great Frederick Fair?

Come on.

Humans are superior. Seeing these monkeys as playtoys completely misses the fact they are well-trained, taken care of, funny, and having fun. Better than many humans I bet.

gdunn

The monkey rodeo is awesome and a huge draw to the Keys, hardly abusive.

TheDwayyo

Then why has Tim Lepard had so much legal trouble over it? http://m.humanesociety.org/sites/default/files/archive/assets/pdfs/abuse/cowboy_monkeys_fact_sheet.pdf

HappySeller2014

I have been to many monkey rodeos over the years.

The monkeys are having fun. So are the dogs and sheep. They are not contained, but running all over the place. Kids laughing. Adults laughing. Animals running and roaming free and exercising.

Now, if we were inviting bullfighters into Nymeo Field, yes, I would have a problem. They kill bulls with their swords. But monkeys riding dogs chasing sheep? Come on.

Running out of toilet paper in the stall is a hassle. Getting hit by a foul ball stinks. Some hot dogs undercooked and the fries a tad soggy.

But all these animals running around having fun? I say let them go at it! They are not hurting anyone, nor themselves. If you really want to get upset about animal cruelty, Charles Town Race Track is 25 miles away, where horses are whipped and some break down and die. I read from time to time about starving horses in Frederick County. Focus should be placed on these instances, not fun-loving monkeys.

Thewheelone

Happy, if the monkeys are having so much fun, why do they have to be strapped down? Would they stay up there if they could get off? How can you possibly know if they are having fun???

HappySeller2014

They are strapped for their safety. Just like you and I in our cars. Riding a dog is not easy.

You can easily tell if animals are happy or sad. I can tell when my dog is. I can tell when my cat is. Monkeys are an advanced mammal and many say the forebearers of the human species. It is easy to observe whether a monkey is having fun or wants nothing of a situstion.

If a monkey was not happy, first chance he gets, he would take himself and his dog beyong the centerfield fence and off to freedom. No one gonna catch him. But, they have more fun doing their job, rounding up sheep.

TheDwayyo

Are you really dense enough to think the monkey is steering the dog and could cause the dog to leave the field if it wanted? Thanks for the laugh.

neilyoungfan25

Thank you, Alysoun Mahoney! I had no idea the Frederick Keys sponsored such a horrible event and I will be sending them an email. Animals should never be treated in this manner.

threecents

Watch this video to the end if you want to see if the monkeys are being abused.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wjn3eSba7n0

threecents

Let me start by saying I am a vegetarian who has volunteered at three animal shelters, and I have seen the cowboy monkey rodeo at a Frederick Keys game and on YouTube videos. First of all, if you listened to the gentleman who runs the rodeo, you know that he is devoted to his animals and to the audiences that he entertains. Secondly, the dogs with monkeys strapped to them do not run as fast as the other dogs, and the monkeys and dogs do not appear to be uncomfortable. Quite the contrary, all the animals, including the herded goats or sheep appear to be enjoy the whole thing. I thought the show was hilarious, and I am a person who would never, ever go to a real rodeo.

shiftless88

The point is not whether he loves them or not, it is that they should never be put into that situation to begin with. I draw a parallel with an abusive relationship where the woman says "sure he hits me sometimes but he always apologizes and buys me flowers afterwards". Monkeys should not be riding dogs. Kangaroos should not be boxing. Bears should not be riding bicycles.

threecents

Actually, the point is whether the monkeys are being abused.

gabrielshorn2013

Do canine obedience and agility competitions constitute abuse? Hunting with dogs? Carraige rides pulled by draft horses? If the animals are well cared for, absolutely not.

TheDwayyo

Tim Lepard is devoted to his animals: http://m.humanesociety.org/sites/default/files/archive/assets/pdfs/abuse/cowboy_monkeys_fact_sheet.pdf

MBSagan

Very well said! Considering the Frederick Keys have shown no interest in fans repeated requests to end this cruel partnership with the monkey rodeo I think it is time to consider legislative action and talking to their sponsors. This form of 'entertainment' should not be welcome in Frederick.

HappySeller2014

I enjoy this entertainment. And so will about 10K other folks tomorrow night. And you want legislative action that infringes on my ability to see funny mokeys on active dogs running around chasing sheep?

You are hilarious. What gives you the right to prevent me from enjoying funny monkeys? What if me and my friends want to hit up a strip joint after the game? Is that against your rules and in need of legislative action?

You people crack me up. If the monkeys do not both you, you have no right to prevent me from enjoying them. Or some adult entertainment down the road after the game.

Your rights end where mine begin.

We - an alliance of eight of the leading primate sanctuaries on the continent - have written to the Keys twice a year for the last three years to ask them to join the growing group of teams and fairs moving past archaic monkey rodeos. They never respond. You can read our 2019 letter here: http://bit.ly/2TBElmw. If the words of the country's primate experts don't grab their attention, perhaps the pleas of their local fans (as seen in these comments) will. We are thankful for every one of those comments.

So many other teams are turning away from monkey rodeos, like the West Michigan Whitecaps, the Madison Mallards, the Hartford Yard Goats, the Williamsport Crosscutters, the Lexington Legends, the Sugar Land Skeeters, the Long Island Ducks, the Kalamazoo Growlers and the York Revolution. When will the Frederick Keys wake up, recognize that times change, and do the right thing for the monkeys AND for their fans?

threecents

Gotta love those minor league team names. The Hartford Yard Goats? The Sugar Land Skeeters?

Peace4All

There are plenty of other ways to support sports teams without involving animal cruelty. You can do so much better, Frederick Keys and Baltimore Orioles. Please: end this now.

bglick

It is never too late to do the right thing. This horrifying event must be canceled. The Keys are lagging behind all the other teams who have seen the light.

bjkingape

Thank you Alysoun Mahoney for this powerful letter. It is really heartening to see the support expressed here for ending the cruel monkey-rodeo practice in Frederick and elsewhere. I hope the Frederick Keys management knows that many baseball fans truly do feel appalled by this rodeo which puts the monkeys at such physical and emotional risks, in the ways that the letter outlines. More info can be found in this commentary that I wrote for National Public Radio: https://www.npr.org/sections/13.7/2017/05/04/526779675/animal-activists-say-it-s-time-for-the-cowboy-monkey-rodeo-to-go-extinct

Thewheelone

[thumbup], bjkingape

dtipperman

I support the Frederick Keys but not animal cruelty. Forcing monkeys to ride on the backs on dogs to chase sheep is not entertainment. It needs to stop.

HappySeller2014

It is entertainment. To you, maybe not. But to me, and 10K paying customers tomorrow night at the Keys game, it is.

Bethany1202

I am appalled to find out this cruel event is still scheduled. I agree with the article and shared my concerns with the Frederick Keys management who seem not to care at all. It's definitely time the Orioles step in to end the animal abuse! I'm contacting whomever I can to voice my opinion and I hope others do as well.

AlkaGracie

As someone who loves Frederick and believes that we should be kind to animals, I agree fully with the sentiment expressed in this letter. I echo Ms. Mahoney's call to the Frederick Keys MLB to apply the golden rule to animals and to end the cruel and barbaric monkey rodeo.

Bigbruno

Thank you for writing this article. Strapping a monkey to a dog and forcing them to run around the field is NOT entertainment, it is ANIMAL ABUSE and ANIMAL CRUELTY. The Frederick Keys are the minor leage baseball team to the major leage Baltimore Orioles. Shame on both teams for permitting this to take place year after year. Enough is enough. Please contact both teams and let them know how you feel about this cruel act. Thank you, Big Bruno

Thewheelone

[thumbup], Bigbruno

HappySeller2014

It is entertainment. That is why me and 10K other folks pay to go to the Frederick Keys game tomorrow night. If I wanted animal cruelty, I would go to a Sunday matinee bullfight in Mexico City.

Frederick70

Frederick is much better than this! This is beyond horrible! I can't imagine how this is allowed in Frederick? Don't we have laws against this sort of stuff? I know this wouldn't be allowed in other cities or states. Maybe the Baltimore Orioles should step in if their minor league team is holding events using animals for entertainment? I am just very sad this happens in Frederick :(

Thewheelone

I sent The Keys a letter several years ago asking that they consider reducing the number of evenings when they have fireworks because it really freaks out my dogs. I talked to other folks in the area who had the same problems and foolishly thought they might at least take it under consideration. I received an email in response that gave a lot of lip service about how they love animals but of course, nothing ever happened. My guess is that they could care less because the fireworks help fill the stadium; I once enjoyed going to their games but stopped attending after this response.

bglick

agree that fireworks also must be stopped. They terrify animals who abandon their young from fear, cats and dogs run away from home and humans with PTSD also suffer.

Thewheelone

[thumbup], bg

HappySeller2014

Good luck with stopping the fireworks. MiLB stadiums are not built modeled after libraries or funeral homes.

HappySeller2014

The Keys love animals. Their mascot is KEYOTE, a coyote I think. They even celebrate KEYOTE'S birthday every year!

How many coyotes get a birthday celebration from a Single A MiLB team every year?

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