Store clerk Brooke Ross has learned a valuable lesson the hard way: Resist the urge to pet a monkey.
A man with a monkey on his shoulder patronized the Family Food Mart in Rutherford College on Sunday.
When the man, whom Ross didn't know, stepped up to the counter, the small monkey stepped off his shoulder.
Ross reached out to pet the monkey and it attacked, biting her on the right cheek near her eye.
"I thought, 'Oh, how cute.' The next thing I know I'm bleeding," Ross said.
The man told Ross the monkey has all its shots then hastily snatched up the monkey and left the store.
"It all happened so fast," Ross said. "I was just kind of shocked."
Ross was treated at an area hospital for the bite. Doctors put her on strong antibiotics, she said, and told her to keep the area clean. She has not been treated for rabies, Ross said.
Ross was back at work on Monday at a different store, the Family Food Mart in Hildebran.
Her cheek is red with scratches and a larger mark where the bite penetrated her skin.
Because the attack surprised her, Ross wasn't able to give animal control officers a description of the man or the vehicle he was driving, Ross said.
Sheriff's Lt. Steve Massey said it's not the first time he's had reports of a monkey biting someone. He said monkeys may be cute, but warned not to pet one unless the owner invites you to.
"Just leave them alone," Massey said.
Massey said most exotic animals aren't left outside so the chances of them having rabies is less likely because they're not getting exposed to the disease.
Ross was able to joke with customers on Monday about the attack. Most of her customers reacted with surprise when she told them what happened.
The next time she comes across a monkey, Ross said, "I'm running away."