June 8 (UPI) — A Florida Home Depot worker was repeatedly bitten and scratched by a spider monkey that escaped from its owner’s car in the parking lot.
The Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Office said deputies responded to the Home Depot store Okeechobee at 1:53 p.m. Monday on a report of a loose monkey.
The sheriff’s office said Tina Ballard, the primate’s owner, said she left her pet in her truck while she went into the store.
The spider monkey, which was wearing a leash, managed to escape from Ballard’s vehicle and was spotted in the parking lot by Home Depot workers, including Marilyn Howard.
“I reached down and she reached up and grabbed my hand, so gentle, so cute,” Howard told WPTV.
Howard said she grabbed the monkey’s leash and the animal climbed on her back, biting her twice. She said the monkey got off her and she again grabbed its leash, but it became spooked by the store’s front door opening.
The monkey climbed on Howard again, biting her arm and hand and scratching her face.
Howard declined to be treated by paramedics at the scene, but said she would independently go to a doctor to be evaluated.
“I cried for the first 24 hours not going to lie, vanity, God forgive me,” she said. “But I’m getting over it. It will go away.”
The sheriff’s office said the investigation has been turned over to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.