The conflict between a Texas couple, Texas assistant head football coach Jeff Banks, Banks’ girlfriend and the girlfriend’s monkey has escalated.
Attorneys for the couple, Amy and Casey Clinkenbeard, filed a lawsuit Thursday in Travis County District Court in Austin against Banks and his girlfriend, Danielle Thomas, over the monkey biting the couple’s child on the hand on Halloween. The Clinkenbeards are seeking damages for gross negligence and defamation.
In the lawsuit, Amy and Casey Clinkenbeard claim the child, identified as C.C., was invited to Thomas’ home for a haunted house on Halloween and was taken to the backyard to see the monkey, which Thomas claimed was trained to give high-fives.
“Minor plaintiff attempted to high five the monkey,” the lawsuit states, “but the animal aggressively bit his hand and caused injuries. Thomas refused to provide vaccination records for her monkey and later falsely stated on social media that minor plaintiff did not have permission to be on the property and then said that her friend on the Bobby Bones Show gave a false version of the events.”
“C.C. was forced to manually pry the monkey’s jaw open,” the lawsuit, which was obtained by ESPN, claims. “There was so much blood that C.C. was unable to see the full extent of the injury.”
When the incident was first reported, Thomas defended her monkey on Twitter and gave her side of the incident. She claimed that the child did not have permission to enter the backyard and that she had no knowledge of the bite until a neighborhood physician told her that they treated the injury. Thomas also claimed that the monkey, a female capuchin named Gia, has all of her shots and that it is an emotional support animal. Thomas’ tweets detailing those claims have been deleted.
Thomas also shared a video, which was also deleted, claiming that the child intruded into her backyard and went straight toward the animal’s enclosure. Thomas has since deleted her Twitter account.
“I don’t even play when it comes to my animals, Thomas said. “And I know all the legal rules on them. ‘Do not enter, emotional support animal, no touching.’ How could she (the monkey) viciously bite someone if they don’t stick their hand in there where it don’t belong? This is her home, and her home only.”
Thomas is an exotic dancer whose professional name is Pole Assassin. The monkey is apparently featured in some of Thomas’ routines and has her own Instagram account.
Banks, who just finished his first season at Texas as assistant head coach, tight ends coach and special teams coordinator, has not commented on the lawsuit.