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'Do not touch the monkey': Town issues alert for strange animal on the loose

Police in a Massachusetts town have urged the public use caution after witnesses reported a monkey on the loose.

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Police in a Massachusetts town have urged the public use caution after witnesses reported a monkey on the loose.

Tewksbury police said just before noon on Monday, they received a phone call from a resident reporting what appeared to be a monkey in the tree line of their backyard.

Police said they used ATVs and drone units to try to locate the animal but could not find it.

Diane Charlton said she first saw the animal on her morning walk.

"I just froze," she said. "I couldn't say or do anything. Just all of a sudden, we turned and saw this animal and I said, 'It's a monkey! And he's just sitting there.'"

Charlton's son, Justin, said he also saw the monkey, and neighbors have reported strange sounds.

"It was clearly a monkey," Justin Charlton said. "I was cleaning the pool and he had just hopped the fence as soon as I saw him."

Animal control has set up cameras and traps in the area to identify the animal and relocate it to a safe location.

Police said anyone who sees the animal is asked not to approach it or feed it.

"Do not touch the monkey," the Shawsheen Animal Hospital warned on its Facebook page. "Monkey's can be dangerous and can carry Herpes B virus, which can be fatal to humans."