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February 17, 2009 --
The Connecticut woman viciously attacked by a 200-pound chimp who inexplicably went bananas remains in critical condition this afternoon and faces "life-changing, if not life-threatening injuries" to her face and hands, officials said.

The chimpanzee, named Travis, was shot dead by police in Stamford after the violent rampage Monday left a friend of its owner badly mauled.

Sandra Herold, who owned the 15-year-old chimp, wrestled with the animal after it attacked her friend, Charla Nash, 55.

Nash had gone to Herold's home to help her coax the chimp back into the house after he got out, authorities said.

After the animal - who had appeared in TV commercials for Old Navy and Coca-Cola when he was younger - lunged at Nash when she got out of her car, Herold ran inside to call 911 and returned armed with a knife and shovel.

Nash remains in critical condition after suffering what Stamford Mayor Dannel Malloy called this morning "life-changing, if not life-threatening" injuries to her face and hands.

Her sister-in-law, Kate Nash, said that Nash underwent surgery Monday night and came out of it "OK."

"It was a very brutal attack," said Stamford police Cpt. Richard Conklin, adding that the woman's "hands were mangled."

Conklin said the chimp was in a frenzy earlier in the day and that Herold had given him the anti-anxiety drug Xanax in some tea.

He also said the animal may have attacked Nash because she was wearing her hair differently and had failed to recognize her.

"There was no provocation that we know of," said Conklin. "One thing that we're looking into is that we understand the chimpanzee has Lyme disease and has been ill from that, so maybe from the medications he was out of sorts. We really don't know."

After the 3:30 p.m. attack, Travis ran away and started roaming Herold's property until police arrived - setting up security so medics could reach the critically injured woman.

But the chimpanzee returned and went after several of the officers, who retreated into their cars.

Travis knocked the mirror off a cruiser before opening its door and starting to get in, trapping the cop.

That officer shot the chimpanzee several times.

"The animal had cornered him," Conklin said. "He had no other recourse."

The wounded chimpanzee fled the scene, but Conklin said police were able to follow the trail of his blood down a driveway, into the open door of the home, through the house and to his living quarters, where he died of his wounds.

Herold and two officers also suffered minor injuries.

Cops had dealt with the chimp in the past - including an incident in 2003 when he escaped from his owners' car in downtown Stamford for two hours.

At the time, officers used cookies, macadamia nuts and ice cream in an attempt to lure him, but subdued him only after he became too tired to resist.

At the time of the 2003 incident, police said the Herold assured them that the chimpanzee - who was toilet trained, dressed himself, took his own bath, ate at the table and drank wine from a glass - was not a threat to others.

Colleen McCann, a primatologist at the Bronx Zoo, said chimps are unpredictable and dangerous even after living among humans for years.

"They are unpredictable, and in instances like this you cannot control that behavior or prevent it from happening if it is in a private home," she said.


I'm sad that he's gone. Sadder that he was denied a natural life in a natural setting......

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I'm never going to understand the need some people have to keep wild animals as pets. To think that because you've trained it to do certain cute behaviors that it's somehow not inately wild is stunningly stupid and yet stuff like this happens again and again.

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Travis never knew a "natural" life. His family raised him from a baby--I bet they were devastated after having him in their lives for 15 years. I read another article that said "he brushed his teeth using a Water Pik, logged onto the computer to look at pictures, and watched television using the remote control," (quoted from the article) which I find really amazing.

It's crazy to think how dangerous chimpanzees are, though. He must have really brutalized the woman. His caretaker stabbed him with a butcher knife several times to try and get him to stop attacking the woman and he wouldn't.

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Okay, okay. After all the other "where-we-came-from-theories" threads lately I publically proclaim the error was mine.

I should have named Tudor's attacker "Chimpman" .

Must learn to research these things more carefully before I glibly post.

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This is such a tragic story for all involved. Did you hear the 911 tapes they released. Wow.

Conklin said the chimp was in a frenzy earlier in the day and that Herold had given him the anti-anxiety drug Xanax in some tea.

I heard yesterday that he was stabbed by the owner, shot several times by the cops, and still managed to get away. They found him awhile later, dead, in a bedroom in her house. :(
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