Brodi the Ohio spider monkey was put down this week following an incident in which the pet monkey bit an employee at a car dealership in Vermilion, Ohio. The owner, who had brought the monkey (similar to the one pictured above) in his car with him on his trip to the car dealership, granted the employee’s request to touch the monkey and rolled down the car window. Upon the introduction of the employee’s hand into the car, the monkey bit the unknown hand, inflicting a slight puncture wound to the right thumb causing bleeding. The employee then sought medical attention at Mercy Hospital.
Monkey bites are dangerous as monkeys can carry rabies. However even if a monkey does not carry rabies, a human being can develop a serious infection and/or high fever if a person happens to be bitten by a non-rabies carrying monkey. Early symptoms of rabies can be nearly imperceptible and, if left to develop, can lead to death. It is therefore strongly recommended to immediately seek medical care when bitten by a monkey and follow a set of rabies vaccinations. A multi-course vaccination against rabies can cost several thousands of dollars in the United States. The six injection treatment is called rabies post-exposure prophylaxis (RPEP) and takes two weeks to complete.
In Ohio the pet monkey, named Brodi, was immediately put into quarantine after the unfortunate incident. The owners of Brodi, Diana Tanner and Jacob Ruelman, did not have an exotic animals permit for the spider monkey but the white bellied animal had been given his required rabies vaccinations. Ohio police verified with the veterinarian that this had indeed occurred, however to discover whether Brodi carried rabies the Ohio spider monkey was put down. Examination and testing of the monkey’s corpse is the only way it is possible to ascertain whether the monkey actually carried rabies. The car dealership employee has been cleared of rabies in half of the tests to which he has submitted.
Protests were formed against the euthanizing of the pet spider monkey. Not only was an online petition set up for the public to join in the fight to save Brodi from being seized by officials and put down, but pickers set up sites to congregate in support of the spider monkey. Laws for owning an exotic pet or laws banning the possession of certain exotic animals, considered a threat to the public health, are not always well enforced. In 2011 the Ohio police shot 50 animals, all the property of one man who had let them loose before committing suicide in Zanesville, Ohio, a little more than two hours south of Vermilion. As a result of this episode, laws for owning exotic pets were believed to be more strictly enforced in Ohio.
In the case of Brodi, the single exotic pet of his owners, the case of his misbehaving is saddening and the result is that the Ohio spider monkey was put down. His owners were distraught at the demise of their beloved pet and were said to be considering taking legal action. They have requested that Brodi’s remains be returned to them.
Here is a video of Brodi and one of his owners.
By Persephone Abbott