Owner: ‘My chimp has ripped her face off’

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The Independent US

The owner of a 200lb (90kg) chimpanzee that began mauling a woman begged police to “Hurry, please! He ripped her face off”.

Police in Connecticut released tapes of Sandra Herold’s phone call to police on Monday as her chimp, Travis, attacked Charla Nash, 55.

The chimp can be heard grunting as Ms Herold cries: “He’s killing my friend … He ripped her apart! Shoot him!” When police arrive, an officer radios back: “We’ve got to get this guy out of here. He’s got no face.”

The chimp kept attacking Ms Nash as Ms Herold, 70, stabbed it and hit it with a shovel. “He looked at me like, ‘Mom, what did you do?’” Ms Herold told NBC’s Today Show. “It was horrific what happened and I had to do what I had to do, but still, I’ll miss him for the rest of my life.”

Ms Nash was in a critical condition yesterday with injuries to her face and hands. Police said they are looking into laying criminal charges.

Police said the chimp had been agitated on Monday and Ms Herold had given him the anti-anxiety drug Xanax. Emil Coccaro, the chief of psychiatry at the University of Chicago Medical Centre, said Xanax could make unstable humans aggressive.

Ms Nash had gone to Ms Herold’s home to help her coax the chimp back into the house after he got out. It lunged at her when she arrived and then ran away but returned and went after several police officers, who retreated into their cars. One officer shot 15-year-old Travis after the animal started to get into his car. The chimp, which starred in TV adverts, retreated to the house and died.