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Chimpanzee Attack Updates

February 19, 2009 | Chimpanzees / Animals in Entertainment

Tougher laws urged for exotic pets

The Connecticut Post

February 19, 2009

By Ken Dixon

HARTFORD -- "Lax," "vague" and "defective" state laws and regulations on the possession of exotic animals need to be tightened to make sure the chimp-mauling tragedy in Stamford never happens again, Attorney General Richard Blumenthal said Wednesday.

Blumenthal said chimpanzees, dangerous snakes and other wild animals should be banned from private homes, under penalty of state misdemeanor charges that include six months in prison and $5,000 fines.

The attorney general's announcement was praised by the Darien-based Friends of Animals. View Full Story

Blumenthal calls for exotic animal ban in wake of Stamford chimpanzee attack

The Stamford Advocate -- Stamford CT

February 18, 2009

By Ken Dixon

HARTFORD -- "Lax" state laws and regulations on the possession of exotic animals need to be tightened to make sure the chimp-mauling tragedy in Stamford never happens again, Attorney General Richard Blumenthal said Wednesday. View Full Story

Chimp attack calls for state law review

The Hour -- Stamford CT

February 17, 2009

Hour Staff Writer

As police continue to investigate Monday's chimpanzee attack that left the primate dead and the owner's friend in critical condition, state and local officials are questioning existing exotic pet ownership laws.

Stamford resident Charla Nash, 55, was still in critical condition at Stamford Hospital Tuesday after she was mauled and bitten by a 200-pound ape named Travis, who attacked her at the owner's home on Rock Rimmon Road.

Nash had been called by the chimp's owner, Sandra Herold, to help coax Travis back into the house after he escaped by using a key to unlock the front door. Travis then turned on Nash, bolting after her and brutally beating her in the driveway of Herold's home.

Stamford police arrived shortly after the attack and were forced to kill Travis when he cornered one officer inside his police cruiser.

Police played back the horrific dispatch communication for more than dozen members of the media who gathered at Stamford police headquarters Tuesday evening. The audio included a wildly distraught Herold, who took refuge inside her car and pleaded for police to respond to the scene as her pet ape punched and bit the face of Nash as she lay motionless in the driveway.

"Please, you have to shoot this chimp!" Herold screamed to the dispatch unit on the other line. "He's killing my friend -- he ripped her apart!"

The attack lasted about 12 minutes and police officers responded within five minutes of Herold's 911 call, said Capt. Richard Conklin.

Police are still questioning what could have provoked the 14-year-old chimp to act in such a wild manner, but animal advocates say the answer is obvious.

"A chimpanzee is not a domestic pet," said Pricilla Feral, president of the international animal advocacy group Friends of Animals, based in Darien. "Keeping an animal like that as a pet and force-training it goes against all of its natural instincts. For an attack like this to happen should be expected."

Feral said she was appalled to hear the state issues permits to homeowners for primates such as chimpanzees. In the wake of Monday's incident, Feral is calling on the state to adopt new legislation that would make primate pet ownership illegal. She is also requesting that existing permits for primates be exposed and revoked.

"The state has no business issuing permits to people to keep these animals as pets," said Feral. "The fact that Stamford allowed this to occur in its own backyard is astonishing."

At a news conference Monday, Mayor Dannel Malloy said the city lacked jurisdiction to control Herold from having Travis on her property, and state and federal laws were "grandfathered" to allow her to maintain ownership of him.

Talking with the state Department of Environ-mental Protection, Conklin said he learned the DEP overlooked a key piece of legislation passed in 2004 that would require owners obtain a permit for any primate weighing more than 50 pounds or less that had been possessed prior to Oct. 1, 2003. According to the statute, the issuance of such permits is left up to the discretion of the commissioner.

Attorney General Rich-ard Blumenthal said a state statute was passed last year in regard to the possession of potentially dangerous animals and penalties for noncompliance with the law. Primates are not on that list, but a separate statute allows any Con-necticut municipality to impose its own regulations to prohibit the keeping of wild or domestic animals.

"As a matter of state law, Stamford would have the authority to take action," said Blumenthal.

Blumenthal added that his office will be requesting the legislature review the new statute and update the list of dangerous animals to include primates. He is also looking for the legislature to amend the 2004 statute, making it more specific.


Kelly, are you serious? RIP the poor chimp? I know its not right how he was kept for all this time, but how can you pity an animal that nearly killed a woman?

Kenny, we pity Travis because it was a human that took him from his environment, a human that forced him to live in a completely unnatural state, and a human who asked her friend to enter the territory of Travis when she knew that Travis was already acting erratically, animals are extremely territorial, and a territorial response of attack is natural in the Chimp world to preserve families of Apes. The only one responsible for ripping the face off of Nash is that lunatic Herold who was breaking the permit law, ignoring the needs of the Chimp, and continuously subjecting the public to a wild animal everytime Travis was forced to perform in public or travel with her as she paraded him around regardless of the danger to the public! Pity belongs with Travis and with Nash, but no pity for the human perpetrator here which is Herold.

Kenny, are you saying that there is no empathy in your heart at all for the chimp? That poor chimp deserves all the pity he can get - you seem to agree that it wasn't OK to keep him under those conditions, yet he is a byproduct of exactly that. Of course, it IS tragic; the owner considered and treated Travis like a human son, among other things, serving him wine with dinner and drugs to keep him sedated....what a winning combination! This tragedy , unfortunately, rests on her shoulders due to the lack of common sense and to lax state laws! This was a very avoidable tragedy!

Not to in any way marginalize the attack on the poor woman who is fighting for her life, calling this chimp attack vicious dwarfs in comparison to Homo sapiens' capacity to torture and torment one another and billions of animals every second of the day, whether in the food industry, research labs, entertainment, or in blood sports! Travis was only acting like a wild chimp that he was! The poor animal, after being stabbed by the owner and shot by police, retreated to the only home he knew to die. Travis' act was the result of improper care and illegal ownership that was grandfathered irresponsibly by the State of Connecticut. No matter how close genetically chimps are to human beings, they are NOT humans; they are wild animals that need to live and socialize with their own kind. Travis should have been placed in a reputable primate center after reaching sexual maturity! It is a well-known fact that chimps no longer seem to "cooperate" after the age of 6, meaning that they are no longer useful in entertainment to carry out silly and unnatural learned acts. Travis was ripped away from his mother at 3 days of age (she may even have been killed), to be sold for thousands of dollars in the legal and mostly illegal exotic pet trade around the world. People who buy these animals are responsible for this trade to exist and for tragedies to occur! [Blog editors' note: Actually, the DEP allowed the Stamford family to keep the chimpanzee without a permit. As the Connecticut Post's editorial says today, no one should own a wild animal in the home, and a law must be passed forbidding it. The DEP is so busy organizing deer, duck and goose hunts at every opportunity, they're negligent about what they've enabled across the state. It's their fault that any nonhuman primates are trapped inside residential homes to exist as surrogate children for misguided people. Any monkey, lemur or chimpanzee will bite to exert its dominance. Then there are bobcats and other wild animals who people attempt to tame out of ignorance. It all must stop.These animals now belong in decent, private sanctuaries. They belonged in nature. ]

I visited a sancuary in Ohio the horror story behind the animals that were there broke your heart. People don't realize that these animals grow very large in size and need special food to keep them healthy and need room to roam and get exercise! They will get stressed if they are couped up in a small area.There should be laws against having exiotic animals as pets! There was a lion at the sancuary that I was at that had urine burns all over it's body when they got it and the person that had it cut it's tail off for a sovinier! It breaks your heart! Thank God for sancuaries that take these animals to let them live the rest of their lives in peace!

Why is there all this talk of a STATE LAW? It should be a FEDERAL LAW for crying out loud! So it would be illegal to keep a chimp or a tiger or elephant in CT, but anything goes in TX?! People are so backwards about this. A wild animal is a wild animal- period. It should not be a pet in ANY state- period. What is the justification for states that allow these types of pets? I don't understand. [Blog editors' note: The Attorney General of Connecticut can't fix the problems in Texas, but he can help to champion a bill now in Connecticut to prohibit the ownership of any wild animal as a pet. That law exists nowhere. In California, non-human primates can not be owned as pets, and when these animals are confiscated, some have been sent to Primarily Primates, the sanctuary Friends of Animals manages in Texas. For information on that effort: Once a decent law is created in Connecticut, perhaps there can be momentum for a federal law. One hopes. ]

As a former zookeeper I am constantly amazed at the egotistical traits of human beings. It is so selfish to take a wild animal away from it's natural mother and think that we can do a better job than mother nature. If this lady wanted a son, there are hundreds of children that need adoption. What she did to this Chimp was cruel and inhumane. Chimps are very social creatures and live in very complex societies. She met none of his needs only hers. I have no sympathy for her loss, only for her friends devestating wounds that will probably never heal, if she even lives. Aileene Maldonado Programs Manager Mississippi Animal Rescue League 601-969-1671

when will selfishness stop ? when will we stop using, abusing, and torturing animals? please----let's stop this wordwide torture of living creatures that FEEL just like humans feel!

I wish people would treat animals kindly and stop seeing them as things. Get a life Kenny. Go on a board that hates animals. You'd fit in perfectly.

I feel sorry for that poor chimp. Unfortunately that woman was trying to fill her needs without regard for the animal. Leave animals alone; they can do very well without us humans. Now if I ever said this in the workplace, my co-workers would think I'm nuts.


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