Lawyer: Chimp Never Acted Out Before

Sandra Herold's attorney says the chimp that attacked Charla Nash had never acted out before

Travis, the 200-pound celebrity pet chimp that nearly killed Charla Nash on Feb. 16, never showed signs of violence before the attack, its owner's attorney said Thursday.

Robert Golger, attorney for Sandra Herold, said Nash, previously had interacted with the chimp without any problems and that public officials did not see the animal as a threat to anyone.

"It's a tragic accident," Golger told The Associated Press. "There was never any sign of violent propensity on behalf of Travis."

Herold had asked Nash, her friend and employee, to come to her Stamford home the day of the attack to help lure Travis back into her house. That's when the chimp went berserk and attacked.

Herold made a frantic call to 911 and police shot and killed the out-of-control pet.

Nash, a 55-year-old single mom, lost her eyesight, hands, nose, lips and eyelids in the brutal attack.

She remains in critical but stable condition at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, where she will undergo about two years of surgery.

Nash's family is suing Herold for $50 million, claiming she was negligent and reckless for not being able to control "a wild animal with violent propensities." A hearing is scheduled for April 13.

Nash's twin brother, Michael Nash, has been named her temporary conservator. Matt Newman, a lawyer who represents Nash's brother, rejected Golger's version of the facts but declined further comment on Thursday.

Two other people have said the chimp bit them, one in 1996 and 1998.

Herold has speculated the chimp was trying to protect her and attacked Nash because she had changed her hairstyle, arrived in a different car and held a stuffed toy in front of her face to get its attention.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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