Chimp Attack Victim To Appear Before Congress

Former Stamford resident Charla Nash, who was permanently disfigured in a chimpanzee attack, plans to ask Congress to tighten pet laws for primates.

Chimpanzee attack victim Charla Nash, center. Photo: Reuters.
Chimpanzee attack victim Charla Nash, center. Photo: Reuters.

The Connecticut woman whose life was changed forever when a 'pet chimp' attacked her five years ago will tell her story to Congress this week in an effort to make it harder for people to keep primates as pets.

In an interview with the Associated Press, former Stamford, CT resident Charla Nash said she supports the Captive Primates Safety Act because "There are many people that know nothing about myself and what happened. The more awareness is made, the better off people will be," Nash said. 

On Feb. 16, 2009, Travis the chimpanzee had escaped his cage and became inexplicably uncontrollable, prompting his owner, Sandy Herold, to call Nash to come and help. When Nash arrived, Travis rampaged, mauling her, according to The (New York) Daily News. In the attack, Travis nearly killed Nash, who worked for Herold, and then rampaged at Stamford Police who were called to the grisly scene.

An officer fatally shot the 14-year-old primate when he ripped open a police cruiser door.

Nash, who underwent face transplant surgery in 2011, is scheduled to appear at a news conference on Thursday, July 10 in Washington with representatives of The Humane Society of the United States to press Congress to support the Captive Primates Safety Act, according to a Yahoo News report.

The law would amend the Lacey Act which lists animals that cannot be traded or transported across state lines as pets. Presently, the restrictions only apply to big cats, such as lions and tigers, according to a report.

The 60-year-old Nash, who is blind, said chimpanzees "are not the type of animal that anyone should keep as a pet. They're just too wild and dangerous when they get older." 

Earlier this year, Nash made an unsuccessful attempt to sue the state of Connecticut claiming the state was negligent in allowing the chimp's owner to keep it in a residential setting. Because of Connecticut state law, Nash needed state legislative approval to sue the state which she claimed is liable for her continuing medical care. She was seeking $150 million.

In 2012, Nash reached a $4 million settlement with the estate of Herold, who died in 2010.

noreen velez July 10, 2014 at 12:46 PM
Why didn't she call for help when her neighbor/boss called her to help ? She was the stupid one, then tried to sue CT,
D Rubenstein July 11, 2014 at 09:39 AM
Don't sue Ct! Get some mental health help. Does anyone out there know and visit a friend with a pet chimpanzee? Let us know.
D Rubenstein July 11, 2014 at 09:41 AM
How much has this cost state taxpayers, including legal fees, already.
Kevin July 15, 2014 at 05:51 PM
I'm sorry,but this woman needs to go away, and try to live her life the best she can. People are going to start getting tired of this,and turn on her.She made a very unwise decision to be around this wild animal.


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