Portrait artist Allen Hirsch has reportedly been in South America for the past couple months, while news that a Queens hairdresser was attacked and bitten by his pet monkey came to light. He may not want to come back any time soon, since he is now facing new criminal charges that may land him in jail for up to a year.

Hirsch's wild animal possession license for Benjamin, his pet capuchin, expires in 2012; under the license in NY state, officials can hold owners responsible if they fail to exercise "due care" in preventing an attack. "The owner is still facing potential charges when he returns to the United States," said state Department of Environmental Conservation spokeswoman Lori Severino.

The lawyer for Parvin Hajihossini, who was bitten by Benjamin while taking photos of the monkey at Hirsch's Kaaterskill lodge, said Hirsch fled with Benjamin after the incident rather than face having to euthanize him. The Daily News found Benjamin living at a monkey retirement home in Gainesville, Florida last week, the same town where another rabid mammal roamed wild this past month.