WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - A Palm Beach County woman is recovering after being attacked by a pet spider monkey.
Marilyn Howard says it started as a normal Monday. She was outside taking a break at her job at Home Depot. That’s when she first spotted the monkey, which had escaped a truck when its owner had gone inside to shop, according to WFLX.
"I reached down and she reached up and grabbed my hand, so gentle and so cute. She had her little clothes over her diaper… and then I [saw] the leash and I was like, ‘Okay, you got to wait for your owner. Let’s get it because you're not allowed to go in the store," Marilyn Howard said.
She said there seemed to be an instant connection between them, but suddenly fun turned into fear.
"When it grabbed my hand I just fell in love because I just love animals,” she said.
Marilyn said the store’s automatic sliding doors opened and the monkey freaked out.
"She came up she grabbed me here, she had my hair… and she lunged off my head inside the door," Marilyn said.
She wanted to protect the customers inside the store, so she chased the monkey down. She was able to catch it, but the monkey fought her.
Marilyn’s face and body paid the price.
"I cried for the first 24 hours. I'm not going to lie; vanity, God forgive me. But I'm getting over it,” she said. “It'll be fine."
Marilyn has scratches and bite marks on her arm and face.
At last check, the spider monkey was at home with its owner, who was shopping at the store at the time of the incident.
Marilyn says she doesn't want the monkey to be put down.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is investigating.