Justin Bieber's monkey becomes German property

Associated Press
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FILE - In this April 2, 2013 file picture, Capuchin monkey "Mally" sits on the head of an employee in an animal shelter in Munich, Germany. Justin Bieber's pet monkey is set to become the property of Germany. Mally the Monkey was seized by German customs March 28 when Bieber failed to produce required vaccination and import papers for the animal after landing in Munich. He said the customs authority will formally transfer ownership of the animal to the German state on Tuesday May 21, 2013. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader, File)

BERLIN (AP) — Justin Bieber's pet monkey is no longer his.

The capuchin monkey named Mally was seized by German customs on March 28 when the 19-year-old Canadian pop star failed to produce the required vaccination and import papers after landing in Munich for a European tour.

Authorities issued an order Tuesday transferring ownership of the animal to Germany after Bieber missed a deadline to send the documents, customs spokesman Thomas Meister said.

Bieber has six weeks to contest the decision.

Mally, now 20 weeks old, was being cared for at Munich's animal shelter. He has fared well and gained weight and even got a visit Tuesday from Germany's environment minister.

"We are going to make sure that Mally can grow up appropriately for its species," said minister Peter Altmaier.

The shelter has criticized Bieber for keeping such a young monkey as a pet, saying it shouldn't have been taken away from its mother until it was a year old. Experts say capuchin monkeys also need to be kept in groups, not alone.

"Monkeys are very sociable animals," Altmaier added. "That's why we're going to take Mally to a place where he can live safely and in the company of others."

Germany's Federal Agency for Nature Conservation said the monkey would be sent to a German zoo but officials declined to say exactly where to avoid security problems.

Meister said a bill for Mally's care — which he estimated at several thousand euros (dollars) — would be sent to Bieber.