Stamford woman injured in chimp attack

HARTFORD - (AP) - A 200-pound chimpanzee kept as a pet andonce used in commercials was shot and killed by police Monday afterit mauled a woman visiting its owner and later cornered an officerin his cruiser, authorities said.

Stamford police Lt. Richard Conklin said the injured woman washospitalized late Monday in "very serious" condition at StamfordHospital; her identity was not immediately released. Conklin saidshe suffered "a tremendous loss of blood" from serious facialinjuries.

The 15-year-old chimpanzee's owner and two officers also werehurt, though police said the extent of their injuries was notimmediately known.

Police said they had no idea why the chimpanzee, named Travis,attacked the woman as she got out of her car to visit the animal'sowner, Sandra Herold. Conklin said Herold wrestled with the animal,then ran inside to call 911.

"She retrieved a large butcher knife and stabbed her longtimepet numerous times in an effort to save her friend, who was reallybeing brutally attacked," Conklin said.

Travis ran away and started roaming on Herold's property aspolice arrived. Officers set up security so medics could reach thecritically injured woman lying on the ground, Conklin said.

As the woman was treated, the chimpanzee went after several ofthe officers, who retreated into their cars, Conklin said. Travisopened the door to one cruiser and started to get in, trapping anofficer who then shot the chimpanzee several times, Conklin said.

The wounded chimpanzee fled. Conklin said police followed thetrail of his blood down the driveway, into the open door of thehome, through the house and to his living quarters, where he hadretreated and died of his wounds.

Well-known around Stamford because he rode around in trucksbelonging to his owners' towing company, Travis appeared on TVcommercials for Old Navy and Coca-Cola when he was younger, made anappearance on the "Maury Povich Show" and took part in atelevision pilot, according to a 2003 story in The Advocatenewspaper of Stamford.

"He's been raised almost like a child by this family," Conklinsaid Monday. "He rides in a car every day, he opens doors, he's avery unique animal in that aspect. We have no indication of whatprovoked this behavior at all."

A message seeking comment was left Monday night at Herold'shome.

Conklin said the chimp has been ill from Lyme disease, "somaybe from the medications he was out of sorts. We really don'tknow."

Police have dealt with the animal in the past, including anincident in 2003 when he escaped from his owners' vehicle indowntown Stamford for two hours. Officers used cookies, macadamiatreats and ice cream in an attempt to lure him, but subdued himonly after he became too tired to resist.

At the time of the 2003 incident, police said the Herolds toldthem the chimpanzee was toilet trained, dressed himself, took hisown bath, ate at the table and drank wine from a stemmed glass. Healso brushed his teeth using a Water Pik, logged onto the computerto look at pictures, and watched television using the remotecontrol, police said.

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