[monkeywire] Zsa Zsa Quarantined After Injuring Man in Dinnertime Mishap
carrie at stayfreemagazine.org
Thu Jan 1 09:15:41 EST 2004
washingtonpost.com > Metro > Maryland
Pet Monkey Bites the Hand That Feeds Her
Zsa Zsa Quarantined After Injuring Owner's Friend in Dinnertime Mishap
By Joshua Partlow
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, January 1, 2004; Page SM01
The behavior was quite unlike Zsa Zsa.
Sure, she has been known to nip at a shirt button, and she likes to
wrestle around. But she has some manners. She'll eat pizza from the
table, drink out of a straw, and what's more, members of her family
say, she knows right from wrong.
So when Jeffrey Bennett approached Zsa Zsa, a 6-year-old pigtailed
macaque monkey, to give her the evening meal of baby formula on
Saturday, he had no reason to expect his left thumb would be the main
But that's what happened, said Bennett, a 39-year-old man who stays
at the Calvert County home of Tracey Summers, the owner of two
monkeys. Bennett said Zsa Zsa most likely was intrigued by his
silver-colored watch when she decided to chomp down on his hand.
"I feed her all the time. She's a real good monkey. She's never done
this before," said Bennett outside of the St. Leonard home on Monday,
his hand wrapped in a bloody bandage and his thumb supported by a
Police responded to the house on Kings Road for the rare monkey bite
call at about 10:30 p.m. Saturday, taking Bennett to Calvert Memorial
Hospital for treatment. The bite, which occurred at the base of
Bennett's thumb, did not cause serious injuries.
It is legal to keep monkeys as pets in Maryland as long as the owner
obtains the proper permits. Zsa Zsa came from Dallas, said Summers,
as part of arrangements to rescue her from an abusive home. More
recently, Summers bought Isabel, a 2-year-old pigtailed macaque, on
the Internet as a companion for Zsa Zsa. Don Baugher, who lives with
Summers, said the monkeys cost about $3,500 each.
Pigtailed macaques are brown monkeys native to Sumatra and Burma.
Females generally weigh 12 to 20 pounds and can grow up to two feet
tall. Some have been trained in their native lands to climb palm
trees and harvest coconuts. Summers said her monkeys live in large
steel cages and play in a swimming pool outside.
"They're very good girls. They play rough sometimes, but they're
very, very smart. Zsa Zsa knows 'time out,' and 'no teeth," said
Summers, who works at a hair salon and was away from her home when
Bennett said the monkey attacked. She believes that Zsa Zsa would not
do such a thing, and said a more likely explanation for the wound was
that Bennett cut himself with a knife.
"Nobody's been able to provide proof that it happened," she said,
adding that "I don't want some animal rights organization camping out
on my doorstep."
For now, Zsa Zsa is being kept in quarantine inside the house for 30
days, and county Health Department officials will make periodic
checks on the health of the animal, said Ashley Conway, a public
health nurse in the disease surveillance and control unit. Conway
said there have been "a couple" of monkey bites in Calvert during the
past year. The main concern from a health standpoint is that monkeys
can transmit the herpes B virus to humans, she said.
"There are concerns when people start to keep wild pets. Even though
they were born in captivity, they are wild animals," Conway said. "A
good rule of thumb is not to mess with exotic animals. If you see a
cute monkey, don't pet it, don't feed it, don't pick it up."
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