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"Very aggressive" monkey attacks Tennessee woman

NASHVILLE, Tenn (Reuters) - An aggressive snow monkey named Yoshi, who was being kept by a Tennessee family, bit a woman and a sheriff’s officer before he was shot and killed, police said on Friday.

Four other monkeys belonging to the same family were taken to a shelter.

“That was worse than any dog I’ve ever seen,” said Capt. Tony Barrett of the Bedford County Sheriff’s Department, describing the bloodshed caused by the “very aggressive” monkey that kept coming at lawmen even after apparently being shot at least twice.

The monkey’s first victim was Michelle Pyrdum, who was bitten in the leg while she was washing her truck on Thursday morning in the Shelbyville area, Barrett said.

Once the injured woman was taken away in an ambulance, it was up to sheriff’s deputies to figure out how to handle the 3-1/2-foot monkey, which had retreated two houses down to the roof of the garage from which it had escaped. The monkey left the garage and moved toward two deputies.

“He approached one of them, stopped and leaped five or six feet through the air after the deputy. The deputy shot at him. I don’t know if he hit him or not, but he didn’t hurt him too bad,” Barrett said.

After firing his shotgun and realizing the monkey was still coming, Deputy Ronnie Gault put his left forearm up for protection, Barrett said. “The monkey was going for his face, but he got a hold of the left arm and bit into it, scratched and filleted the arm wide open.”

Gault beat the monkey off with the shotgun and Capt. David Williams shot the monkey twice, first with buckshot and then with a 12-gauge slug.

“That buckshot knocked him down, but the slug got him,” said Barrett.

The day’s monkey business wasn’t over for lawmen. Four other monkeys lived on the property, two in the garage and two in another outbuilding, Barrett said.

With the help of animal control and veterinarians from Nashville, the others were subdued and taken by Animal Rescue Corps to a compound at the state fairgrounds in Nashville.

“We were out there until at least 10 at night,” said Barrett, noting it wasn’t the first time lawmen have been called to deal with issues involving the monkeys belonging to Ricky and Wilma Smith.

Wilma Smith is in Bedford County Jail, serving time for manufacture of methamphetamine and weapons possession. Her husband had been caring for the monkeys. State law allows for possession of monkeys.

Writing and reporting by Tim Ghianni; Editing by Mary Wisniewski and Cynthia Johnston