Thursday, February 19, 2009

Why Chimpanzees Should Never Be Pets

I'm sure by now you've heard about the chimp who was stabbed by his owner then shot to death by Connecticut police after he attacked the owner's friend.

Sandra Herold had owned the 14 year old chimp, Travis, since he was three days old, the AP story says. The friend almost, and may yet, die. Chimpanzees, even 'domesticated' ones like Travis are incredibly unpredictable and incredibly strong. They are extremely dangerous. In fact, all great apes and most large monkeys, such as baboons, are strong enough to literally rip human limbs off.

Why on earth anyone keeps them as pets is beyond me but even more so, why they are even allowed to be kept as pets anywhere is puzzling. I guess people here about Jane Goodall's studies and human-like they are and think they can actually be domesticated. Well, they can't and anyone who tries is a god-damned idiot.

“It’s a horrible thing, but I’m not a horrible person and he’s not a horrible chimp,” Herold the owner said.

Well, I agree. He probably wasn't a horrible chimp. But she is in my book a horrible person who should go to jail for manslaughter. I am dead serious about that.

Apparently the chimp starred in Old Navy and Coca-Cola TV commercials, rode around town in her truck, and made appearances at casinos. She had to have profited off of him. I think it's disgusting all around. No private individual has any business owning an endangered species, as chimpanzees are. And no one should be allowed to keep them as pets.

Thankfully the one bright spot in all of this is that it just might lead to the changing of laws on keeping exotic animals. Currently, CT like some other states, doesn't prohibit primates being kept as pets but that may change if the head of CT's Department of Environmental Protection gets her way. She's asking the legislature to support a proposed law to ban all potentially dangerous exotic animals from being kept in residential settings. That would include chimpanzees, crocodiles and poisonous snakes. Another similar law banning all primates is also being considered.

I think it's very good idea. If you'd like to keep up with the latest developments on this story, The Stramford newspaper's website is the place to go. Just click here.


Anonymous said...

Super sad story. I think the owner was extremely irresponsible for owning a pet like that. It's NOT a pet, it's a WILD animal!


Anonymous said...

I completely agree that Chimps should never be pets - add to that list a whole slew of "exotic" animals that people tend to try and keep as pets, like; tigers and lions. I hope this tragedy does lead to better laws!

Pet Snakes said...

The woman who was injured had to have known the possibility of being injured. You see a monkey and no matter how human-like it looks you know it is still an animal. When you deal with any animal you accept a certain level of risk that you could get hurt.

The owner of the chimp did nothing wrong. You can't turn around and punish her based on what the laws should have been.

The chimp of course acted out it's nature and paid for that with its life.

We're left with the person the chimp attacked. Are they to blame? No, but they certainly aren't absolved of responsibility because simply put using a tiny bit of common sense they had to have known there was a possibility of something going wrong.

Field Notes said...

I think the person who was attacked really didn't think that would ever happen. It sounds like she was familiar with the chimp and knew him to be friendly.

And, the owner of the chimp definitely did something wrong by owning him in the first place. On a second account by knowing he is strong enough to do serious damage. She is quoted as saying he can rip car doors off. And, third, authorities are investigating whether she even had him officially registered, which she must do according to CT state law.

Sandra Herold is definitely to blame.

Furthermore, he had attacked before (in 1996) according to a woman who was bitten by him.

News reports indicate the most recent victim had her face torn off. In fact, the owner of Travis said so herself in the 911 call which has now been released:

Herold: "He's killing my friend!"

Dispatcher: "Who's killing your friend?"

Herold: "My chimpanzee! He ripped her apart! Shoot him, shoot him!"

Herold: "Hurry, please! He ripped her face off."


Weirdbuglady said...

So sad... creatures like that should not be pets, I don't know much about primates but I've always heard about how unpredictable they can be.

I'm all for banning the ownership of some exotics (like apes, tigers, etc), but not for venomous snakes or large pythons - sadly NY already has those laws. Though I guess it's easy for potentially dangerous animals to get into irresponsible hands. But even a dog can kill.

Field Notes said...

I thought, and hoped, you might chime in WBL =D I knew you'd have a slightly different opinion and something valuable to contribute.

Jenn said...

I am wracking my brain to try to come up with a single animal that humans have had as fully domesticated since the dawn of time and if memory serves correctly there isn't a single species that has been. All animals at one time or another roamed in the wild, a human takes their chances attempting to "own" any of them in my opinion.