Westwood man accused of drugging his ‘emotional support’ monkey seeks animal’s return

Adam Kordes
Adam Kordes(Hamilton County Justice Center)
Published: May. 2, 2022 at 2:10 PM EDT|Updated: May. 2, 2022 at 2:12 PM EDT
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CINCINNATI (CINCINNATI ENQUIRER) -Adam Kordes wants his monkey returned to him, according to our media partners at the Cincinnati Enquirer.

The black-capped capuchin monkey, named “Neo,” was seized from Kordes’ Westwood home in February by local animal control. The reason, according to a search warrant: A veterinarian in Florida had seen videos of Neo, believed the monkey had ingested Xanax and/or cocaine, and was “in dire need of veterinary care.”

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Without care, the search warrant said, Neo could die.

On Feb. 7, court documents say Kordes, 34, opened the door to his apartment and saw people “with guns drawn.”

A spokesman for Cincinnati Animal Care, the organization that provides animal control services to the county, confirmed that its deputies (known as dog wardens) carry guns in the field. He declined to comment about the case.

‘Neo’ the capuchin monkey: What the case is about

Kordes has convictions that are more than 10 years old for driving while intoxicated and disorderly conduct, court documents say. He was involved in a serious vehicle crash in 2017 that killed a passenger and led to vehicular homicide charges, Those charges were dismissed, according to Rabanus, because Kordes can’t recall the crash and was deemed mentally incompetent to stand trial. He is still receiving medical care for his injuries, she said.

Since Feb. 7, Kordes has been on a legal odyssey that culminated Thursday when a Hamilton County grand jury indicted him on a charge of cruelty to companion animals, a low-level felony punishable by up to a year in jail. Court documents say the monkey’s urine tested positive for amphetamines.

Kordes’ attorney, Lisa Rabanus, said she hasn’t yet seen reports regarding those tests because her public records requests have been denied. She also said Neo is now in Florida.


“That’s one of many questions I have,” Rabanus said.

She has filed a motion, asking a judge to return Neo to Kordes. Neo, she said, is his “emotional support animal.” A hearing is set for May 12 in Common Pleas Court.

Local monkey rescue organization

A criminal case involving a captive monkey worth between $15,000 and $20,000 may be unprecedented in Hamilton County. Equally rare: On Thursday, a judge issued written order, telling Kordes to “stay away from companion/service monkey.”

Also involved in the case is woman who runs what she describes as a monkey rescue shelter in Clermont County.

Teresa Bullock, of Misfitland Monkey Rescue in Moscow, knows Kordes and went to his apartment Feb. 6 after he called seeking help with Neo, who then was about 6 or 7 months old. Rabanus said Kordes bought Neo in August 2021.

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Bullock told The Enquirer that Kordes sent her text messages, saying Neo had gotten into chocolate, wasn’t “moving right” and was crying. Kordes told her he also contacted a veterinarian who said to give Neo hydrogen peroxide, to make Neo vomit.

Kordes later got back to her, saying Neo had stopped crying. According to Bullock, Kordes said she was still welcome to stop by, but he now believed Neo would be OK.

Bullock went to Kordes’ apartment, anyway, armed with a syringe filled with charcoal to help clear out the monkey’s system. She told The Enquirer she suspected Kordes had given Neo “something.”

Once there, Bullock became concerned because Neo’s coordination “was completely off.” She said she tried to give Neo hamburger on a plate, “but he couldn’t, with his hands, get the food from the plate to his mouth.”

Bullock also was concerned because Kordes had owned a capuchin monkey that died shortly before he got Neo. She believes Kordes gave drugs to the other monkey.

Bullock provided videos of Neo, apparently shot on Feb. 6, to her friend, the veterinarian in Florida, Jodi Thannum. On Feb. 7, Thannum called Cincinnati Animal Care, according to the search warrant, saying Kordes had a monkey “that was being given narcotics, such as adult amounts of Xanax and/or cocain(e),” and warned that the monkey could die.

Two weeks after Kordes house was searched, he was charged with two misdemeanor counts of cruelty to companion animals. Those charges were eventually dismissed.

Second search warrant

Then on March 3, Cincinnati Animal Care sought a second search warrant to seize any narcotics, including amphetamines from Kordes apartment. It was searched the next day, and he was arrested because a shotgun was found in the home (it had belonged to his grandfather, Rabanus said, and Kordes didn’t even know it was in the apartment). Because Kordes previously had been deemed incompetent to stand trial, he is not allowed to possess a gun.

The gun and Kordes’ prescriptions were seized, and prosecutors sought to charge him with felony cruelty to companion animals. But a grand jury ignored that charge on March 11. He remains charged with unlawful possession of a gun.

A few days after the grand jury decided not to charge him, Rabanus asked a Hamilton County Municipal Court judge to order Neo to be “returned immediately” to Kordes. That request was denied, although Rabanus says there were many legal problems with the seizure of Neo, including that Cincinnati Animal Care didn’t hold a hearing before a judge to determine if there was enough evidence for the seizure.

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That law exists, she said, to provide safe measures for the care and keeping of an animal, if it isn’t returned to the owner.

“Although animals are still considered property under the law,” she said in a court filing, “the fact that animals are living, breathing and feeling sentient beings demands this special hearing, which protects the due process rights of the owner and the animal.”

Prosecutors again brought the case before a grand jury, which indicted Kordes Thursday on the felony charge of cruelty to companion animals. He is free on a personal recognizance bond.

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