Crazed Chimp, Owner Acted Like a Couple

Animal was surrogate spouse for his owner

By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff

Posted Feb 19, 2009 10:06 AM CST

(Newser) – Sandra Herold and her chimp, Travis—who viciously mauled her friend—were unusually close, sharing wine and lobster and exchanging gifts, the New York Post reports. “What she had with that monkey was not normal,” one friend said. But Herold said outsiders don’t understand: “Until you've eaten with a chimp and bathed with a chimp, you don't know a chimp,” she said. “He slept with me every night. He combed my hair.”

“This animal became almost a parody of her relationship with her husband,” one psychiatry professor said of the chimp's role as surrogate for Herold's late spouse. The chimp worshiped Herold, who claims he was just trying to protect her from friend Charla Nash when he attacked her. Nash is still in critical condition, and police are looking into criminal charges against Herold.

Sandra Herold, owner of Travis the chimpanzee, speaks to reporters in Stamford, Conn. on Wednesday, Feb. 18, 2009.
Sandra Herold, owner of Travis the chimpanzee, speaks to reporters in Stamford, Conn. on Wednesday, Feb. 18, 2009.   (AP Photo/Ted Shaffrey)
Lead investigator Sgt. Anthony Lupinacci, left, looks at online photos of Travis the chimp in his office at the Stamford Police Station in Stamford, Conn. on Tuesday Feb. 17, 2009.
Lead investigator Sgt. Anthony Lupinacci, left, looks at online photos of Travis the chimp in his office at the Stamford Police Station in Stamford, Conn. on Tuesday Feb. 17, 2009.   (AP Photo/George Ruhe)
Sandra Herold, owner of Travis the chimpanzee, speaks to reporters in Stamford, Conn. on Wednesday, Feb. 18, 2009.
Sandra Herold, owner of Travis the chimpanzee, speaks to reporters in Stamford, Conn. on Wednesday, Feb. 18, 2009.   (AP Photo/Ted Shaffrey)
Screen shot of Travis, Sandra Herold's chimp.
Screen shot of Travis, Sandra Herold's chimp.   (mrltavern)
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I'm, like, hollow now. He slept with me every night. He combed my hair. Everything in the house is for him. - Sandra Herold

It was the most horrible thing that could ever happen. For me to do something like that—put a knife in him—was like putting one in myself. Then he turned around and was like, 'Mom, what did you do?' - Sandra Herold

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