The Connecticut woman whose pet chimpanzee viscously mauled her friend has died, her lawyer said Tuesday.Sandy Herold died Monday night of a ruptured aortic aneurysm, according to attorney Robert Golger.
“Ms. Herold had suffered a series of heartbreaking losses over the last several years, beginning with the death of her only child, then her husband, then her beloved chimp Travis, as well as the tragic maiming of friend and employee Charla Nash,” Golger said in a statement. “In the end, her heart, which had been broken so many times before, could take no more.”
Herold was the owner of the 200-pound chimp, named Travis, which went crazy in Stamford, Conn., in February of last year and attacked Charla Nash. The animal tore apart her face and hands, ripping off her lips and eyelids, and leaving her blind and severely disfigured.
Nash was visiting Herold at the time of the incident, and was attempting to help lure the primate back into her friend’s home when it went berserk.Herold used a butcher’s knife to stab the 14-year-old chimp and also hit him with a shovel in a desperate bid to save her pal.The animal was suffering from Lyme disease and had been given the drug Xanax a few minutes before the frenzied attack.
Golger described Herold as an animal lover with a generous spirit.”In a world where too many people strive to just fit in, she stood out as a true individual,” Golger said.”She marched to the beat of her own drum and was proud of it.”
A prosecutor in December ruled Herold would not face criminal charges from the mauling because there was no evidence she knowingly disregarded any risk the animal posed.Yet Nash’s family was suing Herold for $50 million claiming she was negligent and reckless by being unable to control “a wild animal with violent propensities.”They also plan to sue the state for $150 million, saying they failed to prevent the attack.
“The stress of defending a multimillion-dollar lawsuit and all that it entailed also weighed heavy on Sandy,” Golger said. “She hated living alone in a house where she faced constant reminders of the vibrant and happy life she once led with her family and friends.”Doctors are evaluating Nash to see if she could be a candidate for a full face and hand transplant at a Harvard-affiliated hospital.