Monkey who escaped, bit hospital employee to move to primate sanctuary

Published: Aug. 11, 2015 at 4:23 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 10, 2015 at 4:23 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Carter the monkey is getting a new home, month after the primate escaped from a home in Charlotte and bit a hospital employee.

The incident happened in late March 2015 when Carter, a Macaque monkey, was spotted running free in the parking lot of Carolinas Medical Center-University.

Officials from Carolinas Healthcare System, which runs the hospital, said "a small monkey apparently escaped from a car parked in our visitor's parking lot. The monkey never entered the hospital and was apprehended outside by a hospital maintenance worker who placed it in a bin."

He was caught nearly 30 hours later when he appeared back on hospital grounds and taken to CMPD Animal Care and Control.

According to the Mecklenburg County Department of Health, the employee and Carter, the monkey, had to be tested for Herpes B after the incident. Herpes B is naturally occurring in Macaque monkeys and the virus can be fatal to humans, if not treated.

The monkey was held in quarantine until the tests came back negative. Even after he was released from quarantine, Carter had to be kept isolated at Animal Care and Control for fear that he could bite again.

Shelter manager for CMPD Animal Care and Control, Josh Fisher, said that his staff members were making two grocery trips a week to get food and supplies for the monkey during his isolation.

"Each trip can cost forty dollars," Fisher said. "We get everything from bananas to peas and other types of fruit. Purina also makes special food for monkeys."

Taxpayer dollars are being spent to keep the monkey fed.

There is another unusual thing about Carter's care. He had to watch a movie every day for brain stimulation.

The case has gone to court multiple times since the incident at the hospital. It is illegal to have exotic animals, like Carter, within Mecklenburg County.

Carter's owner appeared in court Tuesday morning and surrendered her ownership rights of Carter to AC&C in return for having all charges dropped against her.

He will now be transferred to a primate sanctuary through the North American Primate Sanctuary Alliance.


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