This is why we can’t have nice things, JoJo.
A weekly tradition at Carrabba’s Italian Grill in Stuart, Fla., has sadly come to an end after a “hyper” monkey bit a child. Once a week, Mary and Richard Van Houten would partake in “Monkey Mondays” at the eatery by bringing one of their five pet monkeys to dine at the restaurant’s outdoor patio, something both patrons and waitstaff adored.
However, according to the Miami Herald, “Monkey Mondays” are no more after JoJo, a 9-month-old capuchin bit an 8-year-old boy’s finger on July 16.
While JoJo was sitting in her high chair at the table, a man named Joseph Ignelzi asked if his son, Jaxson, could pet the monkey. Jaxson was warned to be careful because JoJo was acting especially rambunctious that evening. When it was time for Jaxson and his father to leave, the 8-year-old went back to the monkey and “grabbed [her] trying to play.” That’s when JoJo bit the child’s finger.
Jaxson pulled his hand away and was left with a small cut, which was treated at the hospital.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission was called to investigate the Van Houten’s home, and workers discovered a healthy environment for JoJo and four other monkeys — Kalani, Keegan, Elvis, and KJ. There was proper food, water, cages, and entertainment for the exotic pets.
The couple was cited for not having an updated rabies vaccine for the monkeys, as they were led to believe it wasn’t a recognized vaccine for Florida monkeys. They have since updated their pets’ vaccines.
JoJo was not available for comment, as she is a monkey.
Capuchin monkeys, sometimes known as “organ grinder” monkeys, are smart and easy to train, making them good as service animals. Marcel, Ross’s monkey on Friends, was played by a capuchin monkey named Katie. Hopefully, JoJo learned her lesson and can go back to enjoying fine dining again soon.
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