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NFL Star's Baby Monkey Is The Latest Terrible Celebrity Pet

Last night, Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant shared a photo on Instagram of his "new best friend," an adorable baby monkey named Dallas. Unfortunately, that makes Dallas the latest exotic pet to live in the home of a celebrity instead of in the wild, where animals like him belong.

Entertainers have a long history of adopting unusual and eccentric creatures, going back to Elvis and his notorious chimpanzee, Scatter. But while these animals can make for interesting photos, there's a reason why they're rarely kept as pets.

Primates like Dallas and Scatter, for example, are deprived of crucial socialization when taken in as pets. And once they reach maturity, these animals can become violent - even dangerous.

"Keeping monkeys as pets threatens public health and safety as well as animal welfare," Beth Priess, a Humane Society exotic animal specialist told USA Today. "They can attack, they can spread disease and the average pet owner cannot meet their needs in captivity."

Big cats, another class of exotic animals frequently adopted by celebrities, fare just as poorly as domestic companions. Since 1990, captive big cats have mauled more than 250 adults and children in the United States alone.

Potential pet owners, both famous and nonfamous, should consider taking in a shelter cat or dog and let wild animals live in the wild. To learn more about fighting the exotic pet trade, visit Big Cat Rescue's website.