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ASHEVILLE, NC (AP) — Officials plan to test a monkey for rabies after it got loose and bit three people in an Asheville neighborhood.

Buncombe County Health officials say the marmoset must be put down because it is the only way to test a monkey for rabies.

The monkey’s owner, 40-year-old Charles Bradley Winecoff, was charged Monday with several drug offenses after animal control officers went to Winecoff’s home, where they found the animal.

Asheville police Lt. Wally Welch says officers returned with a search warrant and found three pounds of marijuana and other drug items. Winecoff returned home as officers searched the home.

It was unclear whether he had an attorney.

Health officials are in contact with the bite victims.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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