TERRELL, Texas - A teenage girl was bitten by a monkey during a stop at Buc-ee's in Terrell.
The monkey was a pet brought inside the store by its owner. Police now want to track down the man and the monkey.
Police shared a photograph of the unidentified monkey and man who they are trying to find. The grainy surveillance image was taken inside the Buc-ee's store off I-20 in Terrell where police say the monkey bit a young customer.
Dallas Zoo Mammal Curator Kieth Zdrojewski says primates, while cute, make for horrible pets because they are unpredictable.
“Socially, they're not made to be with humans,” he explained. “They don't know how to be nice all the time. Once they get to sexual maturity, they want to fight. Their teeth are sharp.”
Terrell police say the victim is a 13-year-old girl who was traveling with an out-of-state church group. Last Friday around 3:45 p.m. the girl went into the store, saw the man with the monkey and asked to hold it.
A manager reportedly told them the monkey could not be in the store. When the owner tried to take the monkey off the girl's shoulder, police say it bit her on the neck, barely breaking her skin.
Still, investigators are worried about the possible spread of infection.
Zdrojewski says they're smart to take proactive action.
“Whatever that monkey had in its saliva and urine, if he touched feces he could transmit that to you,” the zoo official said. “So you're talking about tuberculosis, influenza, common cold, hepatitis — all these different things the monkey could transmit to you.”
Police say this is not a criminal case, but they want to find the man to see if his monkey is properly vaccinated.
It’s unclear if the girl has shown any symptoms of infection since her identity has not been released.
Police are asking for information on the pair. Anyone who knows them should call Terrell police at 469-474-2700.