Innocent Woman Mauled by Chimp: Who is to Blame?

Lindsay Macleod

ChimpanzeeIn February 2009, Charla Nash, a 55-year-old woman was visiting her friend Sandra Herold in Stamford, Connecticut, when Herold’s pet chimp, Travis, suddenly attacked her. The crazed chimp tore off Nash’s nose, lips and eyelids before being shot dead by cops. Nash was left with no face or hands and is now suing Herold for $50 million. Nash appeared on the Oprah Winfrey show this week and bravely revealed what remains of her face.

This was clearly a terrible accident, and I feel horribly for Ms. Nash.  But I also feel bad for Travis, who should never have been a pet to begin with. Chimpanzees are known to possess incredible strength, with the average adult male having four to five times the upper-body strength of an adult human. They are also very difficult pets. They typically act aggressively toward their owners when they reach adulthood, and once raised by humans, they cannot be re-introduced into the wild because other chimpanzees will reject them.

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