Gruesome mauling of TV Chimpanzee caught on 911 tape

Posted Feb 19, 2009 by Nikki Weingartner
Following the brutal mauling by a TV personality chimpanzee earlier this week, 911 tape evidence reveals the horrific attack of 55-year-old Charla Nash. The dispatcher sounded confused as the chimp's owner screamed for help.
Chimpanzees participated in a comprehensive battery of tasks comparing their physical and social cog...
Chimpanzees participated in a comprehensive battery of tasks comparing their physical and social cognitive abilities to those of 2-year-old human children. - Photo by MPI EVAN/JGI-USA
Some animals are clearly not intended to be kept as family pets and this was proven again when a so called "domesticated" 200-pound chimpanzee named Travis suddenly ripped the face off of his owner's friend on Monday. The horrific attack happened in Stamford, Connecticut after Charla had gone to Sandra Herold's house to help her get Travis back inside the home after he had escaped.
According to a CBS 5 news report, it was at that moment that Travis the chimpanzee attacked:
After the animal lunged at Nash when she got out of her car, Herold ran inside to call 911 and returned with a knife.
For around twelve minutes, the 14-year-old chimpanzee continued on his rampage, attacking the downed friend and even the owner. Herold actually used the kitchen knife and a shovel in a futile attempt to stop Travis from attacking. As the 911 call reveals, the gruesome nature of the attack created quite some confusion with Herold screaming and crying for help while a very skeptical dispatcher continually questioned her:
"Hurry, please! He ripped her face off...He killed her!...He ripped her apart. He tried attacking me. How fast can you get here?..."He's eating her, Please have them go faster."
When officers finally arrived on scene, Nash was so disfigured that she was mistaken for a man when an officer phoned in a "man down" and said "He's got no face." Medics were able to reach the critically injured woman but then Travis began attacking officers. He was finally shot multiple times as he attempted to get into police cruisers and possibly maul officers who had retreated for safety.
Travis died after returning to the inside of his home and into his living quarters.
Initial police reports claimed that Sandra Herold had given her pet chimp a non-prescribed dose of Xanax to calm him due to being agitated and in an interview on the Today Show, she openly announced that she had given Travis the drug in tea "five minutes before he attacked" and even showed off the mug to the reporter. However, in a conflicting report to the Associated Press, Herold stated she "never, ever" gave Xanax to Travis.
Studies of the drug could indicate that in human models, this type of snap behaviour might have been explained by the drug as simians are the closest animal to humans. Animal experts such as Colleen McCann, a primatologist at the Bronx Zoo, have also given their two cents stating that "chimpanzees are unpredictable and dangerous even after living among humans for years." There was also indication that Travis suffered from a recent bout of Lyme Disease, which is known to cause paranoia and mood swings in people.
Autopsy reports should reveal if Xanax was indeed in the chimp's system. However, the fact that the wild "domesticated" pet that Connecticut authorities are saying was most likely kept illegally due to a possible loophole in the state law simply snapped and brutally attacked goes without question.
Police are still considering criminal charges pending certain investigative reports as a pet owner can be held criminally liable if they know an animal is a danger to others. Nash remains in a hospital in critical condition as doctors continue to work just to keep her alive. She lost her nose, eyes and jaw during the attack.
Travis the chimpanzee was known for his starring television commercial roles for older Old Navy and Coke. He was said to be quite the "son" to Herold, as the 14-year-old dressed himself, drank wine and used the potty. It was also revealed by the AP that Travis enjoyed lobster, Italian food and ice cream.
A terrifying story for all involved.