NORTH VERSAILLES (KDKA) — A North Versailles family is fighting for the right to keep their pet monkey.

The Govannucci family says Kira, a 10-year-old Pigtail Macaque, is like a child to them.

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“I’ve raised her since she was 2-weeks-old. I mean, so to me it’s just like another child. She would sit there and watch cartoons with us,” Sam Govannucci said.

The Pennsylvania Game Commission describes the monkey as a possible danger. The commission says the animal can carry disease.

A judge agreed with the Game Commission. Sam Govannucci was found guilty and fined for having the animal without any sort of license.

“Í would like her to come home. I hope these people feel guilty for everything that they’ve done. Just to the fact that I have six months to live”, says Amanda Govannucci.

The 23-year-old has terminal cancer and has been told by doctors she has six months to live. Amanda Govannucci calls Kira a therapy monkey and claims she needs the monkey to survive.

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“I’m taking medication just to calm me down because I can’t cope without her,” she said.

Meantime, the monkey is in a nearby shelter and is doing fine.

The Govannucci family says it will appeal a judge’s decision calling the pet illegal. The family is not expected to appear in court again for at least a month.

“They think it’s a big joke to take a dying woman’s therapy animal away,” Sam Govannucci said. “It’s not a joke. They’re playing with someone’s life.”

“I think our little girl needs to come home so my wife has her,” he added.

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Pennsylvania Game Commission