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Owner of Chimp Who Attacked Friend Dies

Owner of Chimp Who Attacked Friend Dies

Sandy Herold, owner of Travis, the 200-pound chimpanzee who caused a stir last year when he attacked her friend, passed away on Monday in Connecticut. 

In February 2009, Travis snapped and attacked Herold’s neighbor Charla Nash when she attempted to help Herold get him back into the house. Nash’s injuries were extensive, to say the least, and resulted in the loss of her nose, eyes and jaw and injuries to her hands.

The incident prompted officials to reconsider laws pertaining to keeping wild animals as pets. While Herold wasn’t facing criminal charges, as there was no evidence that she knowingly endangered anyone, Nash’s family is planning to pursue a $50 million civil suit against Herold and a $150 million lawsuit against the state, on the grounds that officials could’ve prevented the attack.

While wild and exotic animals may be socialized, they’re still not domesticated and come with risks that endanger themselves, people and other animals, in addition to the harm that comes to animals and environments as a result of the exotic pet trade.

We share the planet with many animals, but there are only a few who willingly crossed into the human domain wanting to be our companions. Dogs, cats and horses have found they can live happily with the right people. The ones who remained in the wild bring us beauty and sometimes amazement as we learn to understand them in their natural habitats. Most of all, they remind us to respect other life.

Please sign Care2’s petition to end the pet primate trade. 

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132 comments

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10:03AM PDT on Sep 9, 2010

Wild animals belong in the wild. My husband and I raised 5 orphaned baby possums a few years ago. We grew to love them so but as much as we wanted to keep them we knew this was not the right life for them and in the end released them to a sanctuary where the eventually returned to the wild.

7:54PM PDT on Aug 17, 2010

As much as I enjoy seeing wild animals in their native environments, I know better than to try to raise a wolf in place of a German Shepherd. It seems to me it is our human stupidity that thinks we can have 'exotic' pets whether they are macaws or manatees. Furthermore, I am appalled at the amounts of money for which Ms. Nash's family are suing both the State and the Herolds. Yes, Ms. Nash's injuries are terrible, but a total of $200 million?!?! That's that's not grief, that's avarice.

9:24AM PDT on Jun 6, 2010

I learned firsthand that wild animals should not be kept as pets. My brother was ignorant enough to have a chimp named McKenzie as a pet. One night McKenzie turned on my brother and severed his left hand 70%. My brother was flown to NYC for an emergency 9 hour operation to reattach his hand. The true victim was McKenzie. The police who arrived on the scene overtranquilized him and he died alone and hurt in our bathtub. McKenzie never should have been in our house to begin with.

11:17PM PDT on Jun 4, 2010

You know, I bet if they could talk, even the dogs, cats and horses could do without our company too.

6:37PM PDT on Jun 2, 2010

We see movies and TV shows about "domesticated" wild animals -- like "Gentle Ben", "Clarence the Cross-Eyed Lion", Tarzan and Cheetah, etc., and people watch the shows and believe that they are seeing "real life" and that wild animals are always safe and friendly if treated right.... Then they want to go out and get their own wild pet. The result, more often than not, is tragedy.

2:34PM PDT on Jun 1, 2010

Wild animals are not meant to be pets!

10:01AM PDT on May 31, 2010

WILD animals are WILD and are NOT meant to be kept for pets!!!!! I have absolutely NO sympathy for people who keep these animals as pets and then get brutally attached!!!!!!!!! In fact, I would go as far to say that people who keep these animals for pets DESERVE to be attached!!!!!!!!!!

8:35AM PDT on May 31, 2010

Let's throw in the other 2% that are leaning yes. Perhaps you are were out of prozac on voting day.

8:34AM PDT on May 31, 2010

You two percent who said yes are delusional. Take a reality pill and start researching. This is absolutely absurd. WILD means wild, not trainable and keepable in your house!!!

4:28AM PDT on May 31, 2010

I'm not sure people will ever understand that they were only meant to be in the wild, I think it's cruel even to keep them in zoo's, I haven't been to a zoo in about seven years or something, I understand if they are endangered and need help to survive, but if they don't, leave them alone!!

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Kathleen J. Kathleen is currently the Activism Coordinator at Care2. more
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