A Florida woman was arrested after her pet spider monkey named Spanky attacked a Home Depot employee, then bit another employee a few weeks later in the parking lot. Tina Ballard was arrested in North Carolina and will be extradited back to Florida to face seven charges relating to the two incidents.
The first incident happened on May 4th. Ballard was in the checkout line when Spanky grabbed the cashier by the shirt, leaving “red marks on the cashier’s shoulder and back." The store did not call the police, and Ballard was told she could not bring the pet monkey back to the store.
A few weeks later, Ballard returned but left Spanky in her truck. While she was shopping, Spanky escaped the truck and bit an employee on the back when they tried to grab the monkey's leash as it wandered around the parking lot.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission was called in to investigate the incident and filed charges against Ballard for lacking the required paperwork to own the monkey, and failing to have it immunized. She was also charged with tampering with evidence after she told officials she was fleeing to North Carolina to hide Spanky from wildlife authorities.
“She had sent an email to the investigating officer stating that she was aware of the hearing and she was fleeing to North Carolina in order to hide the monkey so that state officials could not take that monkey from her,” Assistant State Attorney Ashley Albrigh told Okeechobee News.
Police said that the boyfriend of Ballard's daughter took possession of Spanky after she was arrested and that the spider monkey will be taken to a primate sanctuary.