Florida Home Depot employee attacked by spider monkey on leash

Customer says monkey escaped from truck in parking lot

OKEECHOBEE COUNTY, Fla. – An employee at a Home Depot store in Florida was injured when a customer's pet monkey got loose and attacked her.

According to an Okeechobee County Sheriff's Office report, Tina Ballard left her pet spider monkey in her truck while she went inside the store. She said the monkey was on a leash but managed to get out of the truck and attacked one of the employees outside the store.

The victim, Marilyn Howard, said she was in the break area outside when she heard a co-worker yelling about a monkey and "thought it was a joke." 

"She suddenly saw the monkey walking down the parking lot towards her and noticed it had a leash," the report said.

Howard said she grabbed the leash, but the monkey climbed on her back and bit her twice.

Eventually, Howard walked the monkey to the front of the store to see if she could find the owner. When the automatic doors opened, "the monkey got scared and bit her on the arm and hand." The monkey also scratched her on the left side of her face.

Howard refused medical treatment, but said she would take herself to a hospital to be evaluated.

Okeechobee County animal control officers and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission were notified.