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CHIMPANZEE ATTACKS WOMAN
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STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • 200-pound pet chimp was named Travis

  • Charla Nash, Travis' owner's friend, mauled

  • Nash remains hospitalized in critical condition

  • Chimp stabbed repeatedly by owner

  • Travis dies after being shot in chest by officer

  • Nash transferred to Cleveland Clinic, site of face transplant

  • Travis had starred in national commercials

  • Neighbors say chimp was like a child to Herold

  • Sandra Herold: Travis had Lyme disease

  • Travis escaped car in 2003 in Stamford

  • Legislators call for renewed chimp act

  • AG calls for revised animal laws

  • ABOUT LYME DISEASE


    Woman In Surgery 7 Hours After Chimp Attack

    Woman Suffers Facial, Hand Injuries In Attack

    POSTED: 5:42 pm EST February 18, 2009
    UPDATED: 10:33 am EST February 19, 2009

    Doctors said a woman who was brutally mauled by her friend's pet chimpanzee on Monday is making slight progress after more than seven hours of surgery by four teams of surgeons.

    Charla Nash remains in serious condition at Stamford Hospital after being mauled by the 200-pound primate Monday at the Stamford home of Sandra Herold.



    “Charla remains critical, however, she has made good but small progress,” Dr. Kevin Miller said.
    Miller said Nash suffered extensive facial and bilateral hand injuries during the attack. He said stabilizing her condition took more than seven hours of surgery.

    Nash was attended by hand specialists, plastic surgeons and specialists in orthopedics, ophthalmology and trauma, he said. Miller said that while Nash's progress is promising, she still has a long way to go.

    “It should be known that people who were complete strangers to us selflessly offered assistance,” said Mike Nash, Charla’s brother. “We’re eternally grateful to all who are keeping Charla in their thoughts and wishing her well.”

    Herold, who was taken to an area hospital for the treatment of unknown injuries after the attack, said Tuesday that she wants to get Travis' body for cremation.

    "He was my life, everybody knows it. I mean, I cooked for him, I shopped for him, I lived with him, I slept with him," she said. "He was just everything, the only thing I had left."

    Herold said the chimp had been agitated the day of the incident. She said she’d given him tea to calm him, but that her efforts were unsuccessful.

    When she couldn’t calm him, Herold said she called Nash, who had known Herold and Travis for a long time, asking for help.

    When Nash arrived, police said, Travis attacked her as she got out of her car.

    As the chimp mauled her friend, Herold called 911. She also stabbed him with a knife and hit him with a shovel in efforts to stop him, but was unsuccessful.

    When police arrived, Travis attacked the police cruiser. An officer fired several shots, causing Travis to flee. He was later found dead as a result of the gunshot wounds.

    Neighbors said Herold had owned Travis, who gained fame through parts he had in commercials, for about 15 years and that he was raised as her own child.

    “I would have never thought Travis was capable of doing this. I don't think anybody was," said Michael Grant, who’s known Herold for years. “Last time I saw Travis, he was in one of the upstairs windows giving monkey cries in the neighborhood. You'd think you were in Africa."

    Travis, who Herold said suffered from Lyme disease, was known to police in town after a brief escape from the family car in downtown Stamford in 2003.

    At the time of the 2003 incident, police said the Herolds told them the chimpanzee was toilet trained, dressed himself, took his own bath, ate at the table and drank wine from a stemmed glass. He also brushed his teeth using a Water Pik, logged onto the computer to look at pictures, and watched television using the remote control, police said.

    Don Mecca, a family friend from Colchester, N.Y., said Travis was a close companion for Herold, a lonely widow whose daughter had died several years ago in a car accident. She fed him steak, lobster, ice cream and Italian food, "anything she thought he would like to eat," he said.

    Herold's nephew, Lewis Tassiello, came to his aunt's defense Tuesday, calling her an animal lover. He said she did everything in her power to try to stop the situation.

    "It was an unfortunate incident and we are just heartbroken over the whole thing," he said. "My heart goes out to Charley and her family, hoping she is going to recover. I just want people to know that Sandy is not some kind of monster. She really tried to stop the situation, she couldn't and it is unfortunate that he had to be put down. She did not want that to happen."

    The chimpanzee attack has sparked lawmakers and the Humane Society of the United States to renew calls for passing the Captive Primate Safety Act.

    U.S. Reps. Earl Blumenauer, D-Oregon, and Mark Kirk, R-Illinois, along with the Humane Society, lead the call for the legislation, which would prohibit interstate commerce in primates for the pet trade, making it illegal for individuals to buy or transport a pet primate across state lines. It would have no impact on zoos or research. Click Here To Read Full Story

    On Wednesday, Attorney General Richard Blumenthal also called for changes to state laws that all wild and exotic animals to be kept as pets, often at the discretion of the Department of Environmental Protection. Click Here To Read Full Story


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