Texas assistant football coach Jeff Banks and his girlfriend Danielle Thomas are facing a lawsuit over Thomas' pet monkey allegedly biting a child on Halloween. The child's parents filed the lawsuit in the Travis County District Court in Austin, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
The child – who is identified as C.C.in the lawsuit – and two friends attended a haunted house at Thomas' home on Halloween night. Thomas then took the children to her backyard and allegedly promised them high-fives from her pet monkey.
C.C., however, felt more than a friendly paw on his hand.
"Instead of giving a high five, Danielle Thomas' monkey aggressively bit down on C.C.'s hand and refused to let go," the lawsuit read, according to the Star-Telegram. "C.C. was forced to manually pry the monkey's jaw open. There was so much blood that C.C. was unable to see the full extent of the injury."
A nearby physician eventually treated C.C.'s injury, but initial concerns arose over the monkey's vaccination status. The physician told Thomas he needed a health department report and additional information on the monkey's vaccination records to best treat C.C, to which Thomas responded "the monkey had bitten her before and she was fine," per the lawsuit.
Thomas later wrote that the monkey "has had all her shots" and is an "emotional support animal who not to be touched" in a since-deleted tweet, according to USA Today. Her care for the monkey over C.C.'s well-being is one of the lawsuit's key elements.
"Instead of showing any semblance of care for an injured child, Danielle Thomas was instead worried about the risk of her monkey being taken away," the lawsuit read.
Texas sports photographer Tom Campbell first reported the attack on Nov. 1, and he provided proof of the haunted house invitation Thomas sent to her neighbors via Nextdoor. From her since-deleted Twitter account, Thomas denied culpability by claiming the children entered her backyard without her knowledge.
"I had a haunted house on one side gated off/ he had no permission to go pass the gate I had no idea he went in my back yard," Thomas tweeted, according to Bleacher Report.
The American-Statesman reported that Austin Animal Services is investigating the situation, but Texas athletics has yet to comment.
Banks is the assistant head coach, special teams coordinator and tight ends coach under Steve Sarkisian at Texas. The two worked together under Nick Saban at Alabama for the last two years and won a national championship a season ago.
The Longhorns finished 5-7 and failed to reach bowl eligibility for the first time since 2016 this season.