Gov. Malloy On Chimp: \”Assumed They Were Fully Compliant With The Law\’\’

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Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said Tuesday that he believed the owner of a chimpanzee in Stamford was \”fully compliant\’\’ with the law before the 200-pound animal later mauled a Stamford woman who is now blind.

The remarks were Malloy\’s first public comments since the publication of a detailed article in Sunday\’s Hartford Courant on the case of Charla Nash, who is recovering from a face transplant after being attacked in February 2009 by Travis the Chimp in Stamford. Nash had traveled to the North Stamford home of her friend, Sandra Herold, to try to help her after being told that the chimpanzee had become unruly. Malloy was the mayor of Stamford at the time of the attack.

\”I knew what lots of people knew in Stamford – that this family had a chimpanzee and I think, like everybody else in Stamford, assumed that they were fully compliant with the law,\’\’ Malloy told reporters at the state Capitol. \”I certainly did not know that the chimp offered any special danger other than its existence. And again, I think, like a lot of people, just thought that they were compliant with the law.\’\’

\”There was one incident where the chimp got out of a car and took a while to get back into the car, and I was aware of that – as everybody who read The Stamford Advocate would have been aware,\’\’ Malloy said.

After the chimp had escaped in downtown Stamford and caused a commotion in 2003, Malloy said that he never went to the owner to tell her that the chimp would be taken away if it escaped again.

\”Absolutely not,\’\’ Malloy said in response to The Courant. \”I used to do something called Mayor\’s Night In, Mayor\’s Night Out. Over the course of 12 or 14 years, she came a few times – never to talk about the chimpanzee. She always came to talk. She was a service provider to the city of Stamford – a towing service. That was the family business. From time to time, the city would express its frustration with how that service was being offered, and from time to time, she would come to Mayor\’s Night to defend her operation. That\’s what those discussions were about.\’\’

The incident in October 2003 was photographed at the time as the chimpanzee continuously eluded the Stamford police for several hours. The chimp, who was nine years old at the time, had been wearing a diaper and escaped from the family\’s sport utility vehicle on a Sunday night. The incident prompted a police response of more than 10 patrol cars as officers tried to corral the unruly chimp as he sometimes charged at the uniformed police. The police at the time said that no charges would be filed, and a high-ranking state environmental official, David Leff, said that no permit was necessary for the animal.

The city\’s animal control officer, Lynn DellaBianca, told The Associated Press at the time that she would contact Herold to talk about the dangers of a strong, wild animal.

\”I don\’t think it\’s a good idea to be driving around with a chimpanzee in your car that can easily escape,\’\’ she told the AP – five years before the attack on Nash.  \”An animal like this could easily kill a human.\’\’

Both the police and the chimp\’s owner said at the time that Travis started acting out because something – possibly a paper cup – had been thrown at the car in which he was riding in downtown Stamford.

Nash, now 58, has hired a lobbyist and is taking steps in an attempt to sue the state of Connecticut for $150 million.

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14 thoughts on “Gov. Malloy On Chimp: \”Assumed They Were Fully Compliant With The Law\’\’

  1. Sarah

    Honestly, I do not believe the state is at fault. She went over there knowing damned well the chimp was acting out, she was called over to help it’s owner get it back in it’s cage. She had to ignore the danger just to drive into the driveway to start off with. I do NOT believe she should be allowed to sue the state at all!!!

    1. matt

      Sarah, are you serious? If she knew the animal was dangerous, then you are making the case that the State also was on notice the animal was Dangerous.

  2. B Sloan

    I do not know the law, so I cannot say whether Ms. Nash should be allowed to sue. I also don’t know what steps the state had taken to enforce the law. I don’t see any reason to curse about this poor woman’s attempts to get help for these horrendous injuries when she was simply being a good Samaritan. There was no way she could know in advance that this would happen to her. My heart goes out to Ms. Nash, who was trying to be a good friend and who has lost so much as a result. I cannot imagine losing my face, hands, eyes and sight and going through all the surgery she is facing just to try to live as normally as she can with these injuries.

  3. Arlene

    Please! She had been friends with Sandra Herold for years
    & knew of this chimp! She was a grown woman with common sense & she failed to use it when she agreed to help her friend that fateful day. My heart aches for her & what she has gone through & will continue to go through, but do not place that burden on the rest of us. Go after what you can from Herold’s estate & leave us CT tax payors alone!

  4. BobC

    Really? Didn’t know that an animal that is easily TWICE as strong as the strongest human could be dangerous if allowed to roam freely as Travis was? Interestingly Malloy doesn’t deny he knew of Travis.

  5. msavage

    For the love of God–how long are you going to leave this poor woman’s ravaged face in the main photo location of your site? Enough already!

  6. Mike

    Seriouslly, I’m sick and tired already of hearing her complain that now it’s ths states fault. She had no problems at the time with the monkey… then she gets hurt and it’s everyone elses FAULT. Get over it and stop trying to cash in on TAXPYERS money!!!
    You played with fire and got burned, do I feel bad and soory for you? absolutely! But I see no reason why you should get a dime from the State of CT.

  7. dan

    interesting that its the states fault but not her friend the one responsible, but hey it could hurt the friendship and the state has more money, then again maybe not.

  8. Lisa

    As much as I feel for this victim…if a “friend” called me asking me to help control their dog. I would tell them to call animal control. Why should I feel I could do better? I would have researched chimpanzees ahead of time & found out the older they get the more aggressive. Sorry for Charla Nash but I would not have gotten myself into that situation. I owned 3 lovebirds in my pet owning days & know even they can draw blood.

  9. Lisa

    I truly feel sorry for Ms. Nash & her horrendous injuries. However, why should the taxpayer bear this burden? Sue her friend’s estate. She should get all of that. Ms. Nash also holds a burden for that fateful day. She had a choice. When Herrold called her, she should have told her to contact animal control. Why did Ms. Nash feel he had a better hold of the situation. If a friend of mine had a out of control dog. I would have volunteered to call animal control but showing up to get possibly injured? Uh…NO!

  10. Sarah

    Tell you what if she sues over this I’m going to sue the state the next time I get bitten by a mosquito…for not controlling they’re population. I mean my lawsuit would be about as substantial concidering I’m mad allergic to mosquitos!!!

  11. Lisa

    Ms. Nash should sue & get Herrold’s estate as she was injured helping her friend. That’s the choice she made.
    If a friend called me about an ‘out of control dog’ at best, I would call Animal Control for them. I owned lovebirds & they can draw blood at will from a bite. A 200 lb chimp, common sense is they can do alot of damage. I would have actually searched on the internet about these animals. They get aggressive as they age & even attack each other in the wild. Sorry, but I don’t feel the public at large should pay for the actions of an exotic animal who was acting as they do as they get older. All the best to Ms. Nash’s recovery.

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