BROCKTON — Nicole Madden just briefly wanted to see the animals before leaving the Brockton Fair on Wednesday night — but the quick stop landed her in a local emergency room.
She says one of the Capuchin monkeys at the fair reached out and grabbed her hand, then bit it after she was done feeding it apples, about 11 p.m.
“On my way out of the fair, I went to the petting zoo and I love monkeys,” she told The Enterprise. “They gave us apples to feed the monkey and we were doing that and he just grabbed my hand and bit my finger.”
Madden, 18, of Bridgewater, was treated by an on-site paramedic at the fair. A friend then drove her to Good Samaritan Medical Center in the city for further treatment.
“It bled,” she said of her left index finger. “When he was biting my finger (it hurt).”
Brockton police were notified of the incident by hospital staff. Officer David Montrond responded to take a report.
“She stated she was in the petting zoo area and was petting a small brown monkey,” police Detective Lt. Kenneth LeGrice said. “The monkey appeared to take interest in a bracelet, and, without warning, bit her left index finger.”
Madden said she was wearing a bracelet provided by the fair that indicates you’ve paid to go on the rides, as well as a hair tie. She isn’t sure which item the monkey became interested in.
“I kind of handed it (the apples) to him, but his hands were reaching far outside of the cage,” she said. “Apparently the monkey likes elastics and I had one on my wrist, so he grabbed my elastic and bit my finger.”
Sue Rodrigues, the operations coordinator for the fair, said the staff hires a company to bring in the animals. She said she was notified of the incident, but couldn’t comment directly about it because she wasn’t present when it happened. She said Brockton Animal Control was expected to visit the site Thursday afternoon.
“We had the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture), the MSPCA (Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals), other agencies here prior in the week,” she said. “All the animals on the entire property were given a clean bill, given the approval. I don’t anticipate there being any kind of issue.”
While the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals did send a law enforcement officer to the fair, spokesman Rob Halpin said it’s specifically to look for felony animal cruelty, which he said has an “incredibly high bar” to prove. He said the organization doesn’t condone keeping wild animals in captivity because it’s dangerous for the animals and people.
The status of the monkey wasn’t clear as of Thursday afternoon.