12-07-2009, 09:37 PM
I'm kind of a big deal
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: San Antonio, TX
No charges planned in chimp attack case
You gotta be f'ing kidding me?! The chimp was prescribed Xanax for anxiety issues and the State Attorney found no "recklessness" on behalf of the owner of the chimp? How about, OWNING A F'ING CHIMP?!?!?!
At the very least, the family doesn't appear to be upset with the decision, so I guess they're just saying "Leave it to God".
No charges planned in chimp attack case
Conn. woman was mauled and blinded in February after pet went berserk
msnbc.com news services
updated 1 hour, 40 minutes ago
NEW HAVEN, Conn. - No charges will be filed against the owner of a chimpanzee that mauled and blinded a woman in February, Connecticut authorities announced Monday.
State’s Attorney David Cohen said an investigation found no evidence of "recklessness' on the part of the owner, Sandra Herold, of Stamford.
The 200-pound chimpanzee, who had earlier been given the anti-anxiety drug Xanax, went berserk after Herold asked a friend, Charla Nash, to help lure him back into her house. The chimp ripped off Nash’s hands, nose, lips and eyelids.
"The investigation has not discovered any evidence that Mrs. Herold was aware of the risk that the chimpanzee posed and disregarded it," Cohen said. "The animal had not previously exhibited violent behavior, especially toward the victim, Ms. Nash, with whom he interacted regularly, and who was present that day specifically because it was thought that she could help in controlling the chimpanzee."
Face revealed in November
Nash revealed her heavily disfigured face last month on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” and on NBC's "TODAY."
Nash’s family is suing Herold in civil court for $50 million and wants to sue the state for $150 million. Nash’s family has said Herold was negligent and reckless for lacking the ability to control “a wild animal with violent propensities.”
It was previously reported that a biologist for the state Department of Environmental Protection warned officials before the attack that Travis could seriously hurt someone if he felt threatened, noting that he was large and strong.
But Cohen said an investigation found no record of the state agency warning Herold "in any way that the animal could be dangerous and pose a threat to people."
"Although the department was aware of the chimpanzee living at the Herold residence, and although the department staff was concerned about the possible danger posed, and discussed various ways of dealing with Mrs. Herold and the chimpanzee, there is no evidence that these concerns were actually conveyed to Mrs. Herold," Cohen said.
The state's attorney added: "This does not in any way minimize the horror that we all feel with what occurred and with the horrendous injuries suffered by Ms. Nash. Our prayers go out to her and her family. Nor does this decision mean that no one is responsible for this tragedy, whether it be Mrs. Herold or state authorities."
Victim's family 'at peace' with decision
The victim's family said in a statement that it understands the decision not to charge Harold and is "at peace" with it.
"A criminal prosecution could not undo what has happened to Charla nor would it provide any measure of relief or assistance to her. The family remains focused on what is most important, and that is the continued care and rehabilitation of Charla," the statement said. "The decision of the state's attorney does not impact the pending civil cases in any way."
Herold's lawyer, Robert Golger, told the Hartford Courant before Monday's announcement that the chimp was "lawfully owned by Herold and she broke no laws in the care and custody" of the animal.
Golger said "there was no prohibition at the time against owning" the chimp when Herold first got him. The chimp was later exempted from permit requirements, Golger said.
The state Legislature in June added gorillas, chimpanzees and orangutans to the list of animals that can't be privately owned in Connecticut.
Golger in the past has called the attack work-related and said the Nash family’s case should be treated like a workers’ compensation claim. The strategy, if successful, would limit potential damages in the case and insulate the chimp owner from personal liability.
Xanax in system
Test results showed that Travis had the anti-anxiety drug Xanax in his system.
"Although Xanax was detected, it is impossible to state whether that had any effect" on the chimp's behavior, Cohen said. The amounts detected were very low, and no crime was committed in giving the chimp the drug, he said.
The animal, which was shot and killed by police, had also escaped in 2003 from his owner’s car and led police on a chase for hours in downtown Stamford. No one was injured.
Records obtained by The Associated Press through an open-records request show the state began receiving warnings immediately after that event.
Nash’s attorney has said the environmental department had information for at least five years that would have allowed the agency to remove Travis from the home.
Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.