Monkeys may be purchased in the United States through breeders and non-profit adoption agencies. Owning a primate as a pet is illegal in some states, and some homeowners' associations prohibit having monkeys. State departments of wildlife can provide information on the legality of monkey ownership and any required permits.
Having a monkey as a pet is a significant commitment. The animals live from 20 to 40 years, and some require special diets. They tend to bond to their first owner, dislike new people and may not do well if relocated to a new home. Monkeys need significant attention and interaction from their owners, or they may develop behavioral problems. They also may develop psychological problems and become aggressive if they are not able to socialize with other monkeys. Some diseases can pass from monkeys to people, and some human illnesses can pass from people to monkeys. Many vets do not treat primates.
In states where it is illegal for private individuals to own monkeys, a breeder and exhibitor license may be obtained through the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Before granting the license, the department conducts an inspection of the living conditions in the monkey's prospective home. The department also investigates the ability of a prospective owner to afford care for a monkey.