By now, you’ve certainly heard about the near-deadly chimp attack that took place in Connecticut last Monday. A lady lost her face, another lost her companion and a primate lost his life. Tragedy all around.
The story is incredibly unsettling, as are most tales that involve face-eating and chimp-stabbing (and clubbing and shooting). But the saddest part of the whole affair is that the ape’s owner is now completely alone.
The 200-pound chimp, named Travis, belonged to Sandra Herold — a childless widow who sipped wine with Travis at dinner and let him sleep in her bed. A former star of TV commercials, Travis bathed himself, brushed his own teeth, surfed the web, hogged the remote, and enjoyed lobster, steak and ice cream. Everything was just dandy until he went berserk on Herold’s friend Charla Nash, tearing off her jaw, nose and plucking out both eyes.
If you want to experience the terror, check out the recording of Herold’s frantic 911 call.
“The chimp killed my friend!” Herold said. “Send the police with a gun. With a gun!”
The dispatcher asks, “Who’s killing your friend?”
“My chimpanzee!” Herold cries. “He ripped her apart! Shoot him, shoot him!”
After the cops arrive, an officer radios back: “There’s a man down. He doesn’t look good,” he says, referring to Nash. “We’ve got to get this guy out of here. He’s got no face.”
Even more disturbing is the fact that Herold tried to stop Travis from tearing her friend apart by stabbing him with a kitchen knife and clubbing him with a shovel, to no avail. Keep in mind that the woman had previously lost her daughter, and the chimp is the only family she’s got.
An officer shot Travis several times after the chimp climbed into his cruiser and began attacking; Travis subsequently ran off, ultimately heading back to his bedroom where police found him, dead. I find all of this highly troubling. In fact, it makes me want to cry.
Nobody knows why Travis lost it, but Herold did say that she’d given him Xanax (she later retracted this claim), which could trigger a psychotic reaction. Travis also apparently had Lyme disease, which may have been a contributing factor. Then there’s the fact that chimpanzees are wild animals and should not be kept as pets.
I’d say the latter is a good rule of thumb.