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.
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