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Woman arrested after pet spider monkey & YouTube star attacks Home Depot store workers

Tina Ballard
Tina Ballard Spanky Spider monkey owner
Tina Ballard
Tina Ballard Spanky Spider monkey owner

Tina Ballard Spanky Spider monkey owner arrested after Home Depot employee attacks. A YouTube star is to be taken to a wildlife preserve following attacks.

A Florida woman has been arrested after her pet monkey, ‘Spanky’ attacked two Home Depot employees in separate incidents.

Arrested on Monday by North CarolinaLinville Land Harbor police officers was Tina Ballard, 56, with WPBF25 reporting the wanted woman slated to be extradited back to Okeechobee County.

Ballard’s arrest follows Spanky reportedly jumping out of a shopping cart and grabbing a Home Depot cashier’s shirt, leaving ‘red marks on the cashier’s shoulder and back,’ the Palm Beach Post reported in May. The incident was not reported to wildlife officials at the time.

It happened again come June, when Marilyn Howard, another Home Depot employee in Okeechobee, Florida, claimed being attacked by Spanky after she noticed the spider monkey roaming the store’s parking lot with a leash on.

At the time, Fox News reported Howard approaching Spanky, following the monkey after escaping from Ballard’s truck while she was shopping inside. While trying to find its owner, Spanky was spooked by the store’s sliding doors, prompting the monkey to jump on Howard and bite her arm.

But there was more to come, Howard told of the primate grabbing her hair and lunging off the side of her body, before landing in the store’s entrance. Howard in turn chased after the monkey (yes kids, lets mentally try imagining the unfolding scene, seat belts on please…) before eventually catching up with Spanky, but not without a fight. 

The ‘traumatic incident’ left Howard suffering scratches and bite marks to her face and body.

Marilyn Howard
Pictured, Home Depot employee, Marilyn Howard.

Tina Ballard Spanky Spider monkey owner lack of wildlife permit:

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission (FWC), which investigated the second incident, later filed charges against Ballard, which include allowing a wild animal to escape, among others.

Individuals who own wild animals, particularly those that pose a danger to the public, in the state are required to have wildlife permits from the Florida FWC. According to Okeechobee News, Ballard violated the FWC’s rules by not having proper paperwork, failing to immunize the spider monkey and not meeting the agency’s specific cage requirements. Which is backhand for saying, Ballard was in a lot of trouble. 

Ballard also faces one felony charge of tampering with evidence, following the woman allegedly taking the monkey to North Carolina to hide it.  

‘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,’ Okeechobee assistant state attorney Ashley Albright said.

The monkey, which was in the backseat of Ballard’s car when she was arrested, will be sent to a primate sanctuary. Of note, Spanky the Spider Monkey who has over 9K subscribers to his own YouTube channel will likely no longer be featured in the popular ‘critter’ adventures that Ballard had been hosting and monetizing….