South Florida

Her pet monkey bit a Home Depot worker. Now, she’s behind bars.

This pet spider monkey was found walking in the parking lot at a Home Depot in Okeechobee on June 4, 2018.  When a store employee tried to get it,  the monkey scratched her face and bit her on her back.
This pet spider monkey was found walking in the parking lot at a Home Depot in Okeechobee on June 4, 2018. When a store employee tried to get it, the monkey scratched her face and bit her on her back. Okeechobee County Sheriff's Office

Spanky the spider monkey made headlines last month after he escaped from his owner’s truck in a Home Depot parking lot and attacked an employee.

Now, Spanky’s owner, Tina Ballard, is in a North Carolina jail facing charges including tampering with evidence after she left Florida to hide the monkey, according to WPBF25.

On June 4, Ballard left Spanky — who had a leash on — in her truck while she shopped at an Okeechobee Home Depot, police said at the time.

Somehow, Spanky escaped, hopped on the back of Home Depot employee Marilyn Howard and bit her twice. Howard had seen the monkey in the parking lot, grabbed the leash and tried to find the animal’s owner. But as she entered the store the monkey got spooked and bit her again. Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission responded to investigate.

The Palm Beach Post later reported that this wasn’t the first time Spanky had a problem at that Home Depot. On May 27, the monkey was in a shopping cart when he jumped out of it and grabbed a cashier’s shirt, the paper reported. The store chose not to report the incident and told Ballard she could no longer bring the animal inside, according to the Post.

The FWC later filed charges for violations including allowing a wild animal to escape, according to the Okeechobee News.

On Monday, WPBF said Ballard was arrested by Linville Land Harbor police officers and was awaiting extradition. The monkey was in the car at the time of her arrest, the station reported.

Okeechobee Assistant State Attorney Ashley Albright told the station that Ballard fled to North Carolina because of an approaching court date.

  Comments