Bieber's monkey becomes property of Germany

Justin Bieber's pet monkey has become the property of Germany after the pop singer failed to produce required vaccination and import papers for the animal.

Canadian star had until Friday to produce documents

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.

"The monkey belongs to Germany now," Judith Brettmeister, spokeswoman for the shelter which has cared for Mally, told Reuters.

She added that Germany's Federal Office for Nature Conservation would now take the monkey and place it with others, though she did not know where that would be.

"We hope that it will be as soon as possible because the monkey needs to be integrated soon — it is becoming really strange because it only knows people so it has not learned any proper social behaviour," she said, noting however that the animal was doing well otherwise.

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 euro dollars — would be sent to Bieber.

The decision comes after a tough weekend for the Canadian pop singer, who was heartily booed at the Billboard Music Awards as he took the stage to accept the Milestone Award.

"This is not a gimmick," he told the crowd. "I'm an artist and I should be taken seriously and all this other bull should not be spoken."