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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Travis, Maul Chimp

Sandra Herold raised Travis from three weeks old. The chimpanzee appeared in ads for Old Navy and Coca-Cola, among others, and though Herold defends him to this day, sources say Travis had behavioral problems in the past.

Last week, the 200-lb. chimpanzee attacked and mauled a 55-year old woman who is still in critical condition. She has undergone seven hours of emergency surgery which saved her life, and has been moved to a clinic known for its success with an earlier face transplant operation. Sandra Herold had to stab her beloved pet to try and stop the attack before police arrived and shot him to death.

And though Sandra insists Travis was agitated and she believes he was trying to protect her from the woman he attacked (Charlie Nash), who was driving a different car, had a different hairstyle, and had playfully taunted the ape with an Elmo doll she brought as a present, it has since come to light that Travis previously attacked a woman in 1996. He also escaped and ran into traffic some years ago. Sandra Herold had expressed, at the time of that incident, she knew she would have to give-up the pet at some point.

Male chimpanzees get progressively harder to control as they mature and are capable of ripping a man's arm from his body. Travis mauled 55-year old Charlie Nash so severely that the woman will never be the same. Nash's brother has already moved to sue Herold. Police are not saying if criminal charges will be filed, yet.

Herold says she gave Travis a Xanax - a prescription pill used to calm patients - but the attack happened a mere five minutes later and it could not have had time to take effect. She has since retracted the statement, saying the animal refused the medicine. The pill was unprescribed.

© C Harris Lynn, 2009

1 comment:

  1. Nash's family filed a lawsuit against Herold, seeking $50 million in damages. The suit alleges Herold was negligent and reckless.

    Nash remains in critical condition. Though she is reported to understand simple commands and communication, the extent of her brain damage cannot be known at this early stage.