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article imageAttorneys in chimp mauling case and lawsuit freeze owner's assets

By Nikki Weingartner     May 6, 2009 in Lifestyle
Following the February mauling by a pet chimpanzee, both victim and defense attorneys have come to an agreement to freeze the owner's assets. In March, a $50 US Million lawsuit against the chimp owner was filed.
When Charla Nash responded to her friend's phone call for help with the famous commercial pet chimpanzee, she had no idea what horrible events were to come.
On February 16, Sandra Herold's commercial star and 200 lb pet chimpanzee had escaped from her home. Herold called her friend, Charla Nash, to assist in getting the free-roaming animal back inside. When Nash arrived at the scene, Travis the so-called domestic chimpanzee attacked her and essentially ripped off her face, losing her hands, nose, lips and eyelids. The attack was captured on a "911" emergency call.
There were also reports that the 55-year-old victim could have suffered some brain damage and is now blind.
In a surgery that took more than seven hours to perform, Charla Nash was eventually stabilized and transferred to the Cleveland, Ohio facility for facial surgery. The same facility where the first facial transplant just took place. In early April, she was reported as moving and talking, even asking for her daughter.
In March, her family filed a $50 us Million dollar lawsuit against Herold to help pay for medical expenses. Stamford Hospital did waive the charges in association with the attack. Connecticut taxpayers will also likely be responsible for paying damages to the victim. As explained by a local news report:
State Sen. Andrew McDonald, co-chairman of the legislative committee that handles legal claims against the state, said a recently revealed memo from a state Department of Environmental Protection biologist warning about the chimp could prove the state was negligent.
Another report today revealed that both the the prosecution and defense attorneys agreed to freeze assets of the chimp's owner while the lawsuit is ongoing. That proposal is expected to be presented in a Stamford court today.
The defense claims that predicting the attack was not possible. Despite Herold's outrage over the way Travis was portrayed by the media, the chimp had a history of attacks, including biting two people and a previous escape in 2003 that required police assistance. One victim stated that she reported the incident but that it was brushed aside. Herold attempted to explain the chimp's attack on Charla by speculating that she had changed her hair and was driving a different vehicle. In a CNN video just following the attack, Herold tearfully defended the attack, equating it to individuals with "junkie" kids who don't do anything about it.
The attack and nearly fatal mauling by the domesticated chimpanzee helped facilitate and propose a statewide ban on private ownership of large primates, alligators and other potentially dangerous animals kept as pets, including exotics. The proposal was endorsed by the Judicial Committee and must be approved by the Connecticut Statehouse.
The Nash family has set up a website accepting donations to help with Charla's long road to a hopeful recovery.
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