A Woman's Pet Chimpanzee Ate Her Friend's Face
WARNING: This story is horrific.
Sandra Herold had raised Travis the chimp for most of his life in Stamford, Connecticut. Travis ate at the dinner table (complete with a fine glass of wine), was a fan of baseball, liked to paint, and even bathed with Herold, which ... sure, I guess so. The chimp had been mostly well-behaved throughout his 14 years, and was beloved in the neighborhood. Then one day in 2009, Travis threw a fit, and Herold called her friend Charla Nash to help.
When Nash arrived to aid her friend, things went from bad to worse. Turning on Nash, Travis started doing things you probably didn't know a chimpanzee could or would do. He first tore off her hands with his teeth. Then he moved onto her lips, eyelids, eyes, and nose. Facial bones were destroyed, and doctors would later have to reattach her jaw. She suffered brain damage.
Herold phoned the police, who initially took the call to be a hoax before her screams of "He's eating her!" got through to them that maybe, just maybe, the only woman in town who owned a chimp and was screaming bloody murder about him might not be kidding. She then grabbed a butcher knife and stabbed the chimp over and over before the police arrived. Once they did, Travis approached the squad car, opened the door, and bared his mouthful of bloody fangs. The cops shot him dead.
Herold died in 2010, the year after the incident, of an aneurysm. As for Nash, her wounds were so gut-wrenchingly horrific that the hospital had to provide counseling for the people who initially treated her. She later got a couple of transplanted hands that had to be removed again due to complications, and a transplanted face that seems to be doing OK. She won $4 million in a lawsuit against Herold's estate, and has since has gone to Washington to advocate for laws to make it harder to own primates as pets. She makes a pretty convincing case, even without having to say a word.