Victim in Okeechobee monkey attack doesn’t blame animal

OKEECHOBEE — Marilyn Howard was on her break outside of Home Depot when she saw what looked like a monkey approaching her from the parking lot.

A short while later she would have multiple bites and scratches on her body and be headed for Raulerson Hospital.

Marilyn Howard’s hand and arm both show the bite marks from the spider monkey that attacked her while she was on her break at Home Depot on June 4, 2018. Photo by R. Marion.

Ms. Howard, a cashier at Home Depot, had overheard coworkers talking about a monkey on the way to her break and assumed it was all a joke. As she stepped outside, she saw a monkey approaching her from the parking lot and noticed it was wearing what appeared to be a leash.

Assuming the owner of the monkey was in the store, she attempted to grab the leash and guide the animal inside. That’s when the monkey, who is named Spanky, jumped on her back and bit her twice.

Still, Ms. Howard was able to get a hold of the leash once again and wait near the entrance of Home Depot for monkey’s owner. But the automatic doors spooked Spanky once again, and Ms. Howard was bitten on the arm and scratched on her face.

“I don’t blame the monkey for any of this,” said Ms. Howard. “I’ve seen videos of it before online and it looks very sweet. It was just scared. I’m just wondering why it was left inside a truck while the owner was in the store?”

According to the police report prepared by Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Office deputy Devon Satallante, the owner of Spanky, Tina Ballard, told the deputy she had left her pet in her truck while she went into the store.

“I don’t want anything to happen to the monkey at all,” continued Ms. Howard. “I hate that it’s somewhere locked up in a small box because of this.”

It is unknown at this time how the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission will proceed in this case.

 

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