February 17, 2009 in City

Chimpanzee shot dead after attacking woman

Stephanie Reitz Associated Press

HARTFORD, Conn. – A 200-pound pet chimpanzee once seen in TV commercials mauled a woman visiting its owner Monday and cornered a police officer in his cruiser before he shot and killed it, authorities said.

Stamford police Capt. Richard Conklin said the injured woman was hospitalized late Monday in “very serious” condition at Stamford Hospital; her identity was not immediately released. Conklin said she suffered “a tremendous loss of blood” from serious facial injuries.

The 15-year-old chimpanzee’s owner and two officers also were hurt, though police said the extent of their injuries was not immediately 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’s owner, Sandra Herold. Conklin said Herold wrestled with the animal, then ran inside to call 911.

“She retrieved a large butcher knife and stabbed her longtime pet numerous times in an effort to save her friend, who was really being brutally attacked,” Conklin said.

Travis ran away and started roaming on Herold’s property as police arrived.

As the woman was treated, the chimpanzee went after several of the officers, who retreated into their cars, Conklin said. Travis opened the door to one cruiser and started to get in, trapping an officer who then shot the chimpanzee several times, Conklin said.

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

Well-known around Stamford because he rode around in trucks belonging to his owners’ towing company, Travis appeared on TV commercials for Old Navy and Coca-Cola when he was younger, made an appearance on the “Maury Povich Show” and took part in a television pilot, according to a 2003 story in the Advocate newspaper of Stamford.

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