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R.I.P. Travis

Written by PETA | February 18, 2009

On Monday, a 15-year-old chimpanzee named Travis, who was kept as a “pet” by a woman in Connecticut, went on a rampage and mauled a visitor. Travis was stabbed multiple times, “pounded” with a shovel, and eventually shot to death.

A former “star” of Coca-Cola and Old Navy commercials and an episode of the Maury Povich Show, Travis was “raised almost like a child by this family,” according to a police officer. Great—except that 200-pound chimpanzees aren’t children.

Keeping any wild animal as a “pet” is inhumane and dangerous. There have been scores of incidents in which captive chimpanzees inflicted grave injuries on people. This tragedy illustrates the need for Connecticut to add primates to its ban on potentially dangerous animals—which already includes big cats, bears, and wolves—and we have asked Governor Rell to do that.

Academy Award–winning actor Anjelica Huston has spoken up in a moving public service announcement in behalf of great apes used for entertainment. Check it out here.

Thanks to companies like CareerBuilder and, more recently, Castrol Oil, whose ads show baby chimpanzees dressed up in clothes and “monkeying around” in offices and service stations, many people seem to think of chimpanzees as comical sub-human clowns. They aren’t. They are wild animals who are torn away from their mothers at an obscenely young age and beaten into submission. By the time they are 8, they are big enough and strong enough to fight back, which earns them a one-way ticket to a cage in someone’s basement or a concrete pit at a roadside zoo.

Neither Travis nor any other great ape belongs in show business. Who ends up happy in this story? Were those 30-second commercials really worth a lifetime of confinement in an unsuitable environment that eventually led to a woman’s grave injury and Travis’s death? Click here to take action on this issue.

Please, complain loudly any time you see a primate used in a movie, TV show, or advertisement. To learn more about this issue, you can catch PETA’s Lisa Lange talking about Travis on Bill O’Reilly’s show tonight at 8 p.m. on Fox News.

Written by Alisa Mullins

Commenting is closed.
  • Tamra says:

    Animals should not be used for entertainment.Why is Khloe Kardashian on Peta billboard and their show going to have a monkey on it? Animals need to be with other animals their own kind so they can be happy.I believe Travis just wanted to be free!!!

  • Leight says:

    I keep hearing more details about this woman’s “relationship” with Travis which seems to be questionable but why don’t more people would understand that animals are suppose to be wild and kept in their natural environment and not used for commerical or personal gain. But then humans use their own kids for the same reasons. I still don’t understand why they had to shoot and kill him. Hopefully he is in a better place now! RIP TRAVIS!

  • Gina Rangel says:

    One more innocent life is wasted in this case poor Travis may he rest in peace! and all because not of the ignorance of the woman but because of her selfishness! I do suggest that this criminal be prossecuted and banned from having any kind of living beings in her possession!

  • Curtis says:

    I’m glad O’Reilly had Lisa on ‘The Factor’. I sure hope the lady in the hospital turns out to be O.K. she had nothing to do with Travis being kept in captivity and is an unfortunate victim. And RIP Travis

  • Sandra says:

    Please go online and google The Advocate Stamford CT for the details of what happened the day Travis was killed. Sandy Herold called her friend for help by asking her to come over because Travis had gotten out of the house I know why didn’t Herold call the police it seems the friend was sporting a new hairdo and Travis did not recognize her and snapped! If you read all the postings you will find that over the years Travis had been involved in a few other incidents. Yes poor Travis indeed! He should have never been anyone’s “pet” but free as he was created to be. Please go to The Advocate and read the many informative comments made by the town folk who knew Travis.

  • chaos says:

    I am heartbroken over the death of the chimp but I can not believe some of the comments on here someone said they weren’t sorry for the people involved and someone else said at least that woman who was attacked is still alive. She has no eyes no nose and part of her jaw is missing. It is one thing to stand up for animal rights but quite another thing to forget about the human tragedy which was barely even mentioned in these posts. How would any of you live with the injuries she suffered? My heart goes out to her…and the chimp.

  • Kurt says:

    Truly a sad story. The thought of Travis being shot multiple times and then still having the awareness to go back to his room in the house to die in his bed. The state of CT should not permit people to own primates whether or not they are over 50lbs. The woman was just a lonely widow who lost her husband and daughter and made Travis a surrogate. My prayers are with the other woman who lost her eyes nose and part of her jaw. CT must move into the 21st century and enact legislation to prohibit private ownership of these great animals. Yes they are extremely intelligent even in human terms but they cannot be owned.

  • Adriana says:

    I think PETA is something just perfect D i think we should love animals.. we should be more respectful by understanding that yeah there are some domestic animals like dogscatsturttleshamsters… but a chimp?thats just stupid LOVE ANIMALS! they can’t deffend themselves of humans S sorry for my bad english lol i am from Mexico

  • Alexandra LoSurdo says:

    Shame upon the local government in that area allowing the chimp to be kept in a suburban house as a ‘pet’ for so long. This woman was clearly extremely irresponsible in keeping Travis and giving him an inappropriate diet do you want Xanax with that? and should be prosecuted with animal cruelty charges as well as any applicable criminal charges for the horrific injuries suffered by the friend who the chimpanzee savaged.

  • GiraffeLover14 says:

    aww RIP Travis. i think its a shame people can be so heartless

  • lauren says:

    RIP travis i live in the area and i just wanted to make clear SHE DID NOT give the chimp antibiotics before he went on the rampage he just spazed and im soo sorry for the chimp and owner i want to know cause they wont say on the news . what was the victim doing before he attacked?

  • maureen says:

    I feel so bad for this chimp but not for the people involved!

  • Sara says:

    Oh Please it is entirely her fault. It IS illegal in CT to own a pet chimpanzee. The laws just aren’t strict enough to bring a person to jail for it. I think she just got fined or something. Now they are looking into criminal charges against the woman…I hope they go through and that they make the laws here against owning exotic animals tougher. Oh and by the way now that she knows that criminal charges might be brought against her she has been denying ever giving Travis Xanax. That’s such BS because why should she have mentioned it in the first place?

  • Mary Hartmann says:

    Hi I am commenting again…and asking where are these road side Zoos???? This has to be stopped!!!! Every one reading these comments needs to get involved and support PETA I know I am and I am spreading the word…to my friendsfamilyclients and students I teach…we can make a differance!!!!!!!!!

  • Jacob says:

    This story makes me sick. A wild animal should not be kept as a pet. The officers were defending themselves and were in the right to fire when the animal turned on them but that animal should never have been there in the first place. That poor woman… It seems like she was very brutally attacked. A shame all around.

  • jessica says:

    “Oh please” you are extremely ignorant. The woman let Travis DRIVE HER CAR multiple times. And you’re going to tell me she’s not responsible? He didn’t find a key the woman’s friend came over to the house where Travis and his owner live and he went crazy and attacked her. Tell me real quick what you would do if you were MEANT to be in the wild and were raised in an unnatural environment? You’d go crazy. Maybe if the woman wasn’t so ignorant she’d too know that they aren’t meant to be kept as pets. A MONKEY IS NOT A DOG. By the age of 8 it has the strength of more than 10 GROWN MEN. So oh please get informed.

  • Mary Hartmann says:

    My heart is broken…over Travis and Angelica’s report on all the abuse I cant stop crying and I want to help…and take action to educate people and children I am going to get involved…I have always been so sensitive to these issues and have avoided watching these tragic stories because it saddens me so….but not any more I am going to make a stand for all these poor animals!!!!

  • Ashley says:

    a truly heartbreaking incident

  • cvyarb says:

    PETA execs please do everything within your power to see that Sandy Herold is criminally charged. Thank you. Chris

  • Joanna says:

    This is so sad. Sad for the woman who loved Travis and had to kill him brutally. Sad for the woman who was nearly killed. Sad for Travis who deserved to be treated like a chimpanzie not a human. Wild animals should never be pets.

  • Kit says:

    It was bad that this lady chose the chimp as a pet but if you were in her shoes even not being the owner but a bystander wouldn’t you have try to help the lady being attacked? Or would you just stand there adn watch the chimp brutually attack the lady?

  • keith says:

    Not a believer for sure but if a day of Judgement is professed. Then ‘ Bring it on’for surely we all have behaved like idiots and deserve no mercy. HomoSapien are the most destructive of all creatures. From a very very disillusioned Animal Welfare fighter for more than forty years !

  • Oh Please says:

    Come on now… how is it her fault… that doesnt even make any sense… the monkey found a key somehow and got out of the house then went mad and started mauling everyone in sight… and this is the womans fault how? The older a monky becomes the more riley it gets. Not all monkeys are like the little chimps that you see at the zoo people.

  • Ellen says:

    I work at our County Zoo here in Wisconsin and have worked the Primate Bldg for the last 14 years. A tiny fraction of the public I encounter are there to be educated. They treat these facilites as a day at the fair. I wish Zoo officials would become more involved instead of counting heads at the gate to see how much income they are going to bring in. Travis has passed over the Rainbow Bridge to meet with this new animals friends that will keep him happy and safe. What a shame! Bless you Travis………

  • Eve Applebaum says:

    I would like to see PETA take legitimate legal action on her and the authorities so this never happens again. This idiotic woman used Travis for profit fed him food that even a complete moron should know was NOT meant for a chimp constitution and obviously has NO CLUE about animal behavior not to mention HUMAN behavior. I’m not going to touch the Xanax and steak issue. Hellooooo? Simple info one can find on the internet…. What do they eat? Chimpanzees find their food mainly in trees. Ninety percent of their diet consists of fruits with the rest coming from buds bark and an occasional insect or small mammal See Did You Know?. Chimps can poke sticks through holes to gather food proving that they can use tools. Social Envirnoment Chimpanzees have social hierarchies and live in communities as humans do. They groom each other to maintain friendships and trust. Each animal has its own unique call. Chimpanzees can pout and smile and display fits of rage and jealousy. Uhm “fits of rage and jealousy” The MOMENT I heard that Travis had attacked her friend I knew as a therapist and animal behavior enthusiast what was going on. Why did she give him a Xanax? Steak has been proven to make animals and people more aggressive and angry. The level of stupidity that this woman displayed makes me furious and so sad. Poor Travis. We as a society MUST not allow people to make such ridiculous decisions that can harm innocent animals and people as in this case. Between the lack of responsibility that surrounds this atrocity and the psycho lady and her Doctor making 8 babies after having had 6 I fear for this world! PETA please make a statement that is intelligent and not too aggressive so the whole world knows that the life of this chimp was not in vain!

  • Lauren says:

    This story absoluetly horrified me. How dare humans kept wild animals like this and then complain when they act on their instincts? Chimps are not pets for Christ’s sake. I am enraged over this incident and the whole primate trade in general.

  • wendi says:

    Forgot to add I watched a National Geographic documentary “Chimps The Dark Side” and was amazed when the chimp researchers in Uganda were teaching the local children about chimps and asked what they know about them all of the children said “They kill children.” There was a chimp snatching and eating children probably bc they were easy prey. You ask most children of other countries the same question and you would get answers like “They are cute funny sweet cuddly” and so on. Simple reason is they don’t get exploited for amusement there like other countries. They are dangerous wild animals capable of killing and are to be respected and even the children there knew this. It was very interesting.

  • John Maynus says:

    Yeah can’t believe people keep wild animals as pets and act shocked when it goes wild and hurts someone. Not the animals fault blame the people not the animal. And you don’t give any animal medicine meant for humans unless a vet says it’s safe and even then it might not be a good idea.

  • brianna says:

    oh my gosh thats so horrible! Poor travis

  • NT says:

    He is finally free.

  • Amber Falobas says:

    Yea! They are not pets. But has PETA seen the new Axe shampoo commercial? They are using a pig in the commercial. It seems unhappy the entire commercial. can we get on their hind ends about this?

  • wendi says:

    Poor buddy. He was killed for being a chimp. He had no idea what he was doing was wrong and chimps act like this in the wild all the time. There is not one good reason in this day and age and what we now know about wild animal behavior that anyone should own any wild animal. While I have no doubt Travis’ “mom” loved him very much and thought she was giving him a good life this is what happens when people are “stupid” to the respect and treatment any and all animals deserve. If you love wildexotic animals you would never want to cage them and break their spirit. Explain that “love” to me.

  • Rekha says:

    I felt sick to my stomach when I read how she kept telling the police to shoot him. If she really loved him like a son as she keeps saying she would have done better by him. Knowing full well that he was suffering from Lyme disease and was prone to have mood swings she should have kept a tranquilizer gun handy at all times in case of emergency. I also can’t help feeling that calling her friend was the wrong thing to have done in that situation. Perhaps waiting for Travis to calm down and coax him into the house might have been better or she could have used a tranquilizer. Either of these actions might have saved his life and also prevented what she put her friend through. The blame for this tragedy rests squarely on her shoulders. I hope Travis is at peace now. His tragic death has touched people’s hearts across the world.

  • Connee says:

    I have a wildlife hospital. I know first hand the dangers of wild animals and contact with human beings. Here is the situationOnce the chimp was humanized he could never be returned to the wild unless someone could teach him to be a chimpanzee and humans cannot do that!Sanctuaries are the only place for them. We must NEVER take them from their mothers to begin with…but…once that has been donewe must find ways to help them live the most “normal” life they can in captivity.I have a deer that I raised from a baby. He was very sick and bonding is what mammals do…he was torn from his mother so I am mother now. He could never be released to the wild as he trusts humans.He has to be hidden from the humans who would kill him. We all need to protect our animals here in America and in the jungles of Africa from our own kind. Wild animals belong in the wild and if humans would stop eating meat and using animal products they would remain there. Do not punish the woman who did the best she could by Travis. Travis was a product of a sick society who uses animals for everything from food to entertainment and then discards them once they aren’t cute anymore.

  • Rose says:

    I’m so proud of Lisa for going on O’Reilly and speaking for Travis. I am also to be a Peta member. I think Peta is the best thing that has happened in the animal world. Ingrid I admire you and May God continue to bless you and all of the Animal Rights members.When will people learn that animals are not for entertainment that it is wrong to mistreat them? One day they will have to answer to the one who created these beautiful animals of the world.In the mean time we have to be “A Voice for Animals.” Rava

  • Sara says:

    Everything about this story is very sad. I live in CT and this story really disturbed me. People in the community are mourning the loss of Travis but Travis should not have been put in that situation in the first place. I do agree that no primates should be kept as pets. Wild animals could very dangerous so they don’t belong around people. I think they should really be kept in the wild where they can live happily. Furthermore the owner needs serious psychological help. She should NOT have given Travis Xanex. It is not designed for primates in very rare cases where a person is prone to anger it can make the person aggressive. A similar effect of the drug could have happened for Travis. This Xanex that Herald gave Travis was probably her own prescription drug. She thought of him as a “son” but what kind of a mother would stab her own child? I also think she should pay for her friend’s medical bills as she is responsible for this incident occurring. I also think that police officers should have brought a tranquilizer to the Herald house so that they perhaps could have subdued Travis instead of killing him. RIP Travis.

  • Nik says:

    This was a horrible story and I hope the woman is convicted of animal cruelty. She created the situation with her ignorant blindness to the fact that a chimpanzee is NOT a human. She fed it ice cream and human food and treated it like a person. And she fed it a pharmaceutical drug…that is beyond sick. It’s so sad that this animal suffered and died because it had instincts of a chimp. I hope a law is passed to prohibit anyone from harboring a wild animal in a residence or in any other manner. Wild animals are imported from third world countries and most die in transit…if they survive it’s a oneway ticket to neglect abuse and cruelty. Wild animals are not for personal human amusement and they should STAY in the wild and be protected. Again I hope they convict this sick woman to the fullest extent of the law.

  • roxanne says:

    yes sad story because people can’t leave animals alone and use the for perverted things as entertainment. sickening

  • Aralin says:

    This is what happens when people promoted animals in the media plus monkeyschimpanzees arent domesticated animals so people need to understand we can’t have them as pets. Therefore its not the monkeys fault it’s the womans fault for getting poor Travis May He Rest In Peace and the media. I hate seeing things like this!

  • sandy mann says:

    This was so wrong on so many levels. But maybe Travis will leave us something knowledge. Although he certianly doesn’t owe any human anything. Poor Travis. This has made me sick to my stomach. My prayers are with all involved.

  • Jean-Yves Mercier says:

    I am saddened by Travis’s brutal death. Though I feel sad for the woman who got mauled she is still alive. I always tell people that primates are wild animals and should stay in the wild. I also tell them that animals should never be used in entertainment circus commercials etc. They too have dignity.

  • Jeanette Rodriguez says:

    I am a member of PETA and I always take an opportunity regarding any animal especially animals in entertainment to EDUCATE people about the true ways wild animals should live. It’s surprising how many people do not know what happens behind the scenes. It would be great if you had a TV station people could tune into and actually see what happens to all animals on a daily basis. I have only sympathy for the animals that suffer…humans should know better. Although people mean well they should already know where wild animals belong.

  • SHARI says:

    This is just sad! I have been keeping up with this all day. I am watching PETA on O’Reilly right now.I’m so PROUD of Lisa Lange!She did a great job getting the message out there!! Sadthis has to happen in order for people to understand that apes are not pets.To see a ape get shot to death and the life changing injuries that the women now has to suffer with is a double tragedy. If she even lives. My prayers are with her and for Travis. I know there is a heaven for him.

  • Gina says:

    These people are nothing but evil cowards who feel the need to beat animals to make themselves look powerful but in reality they are nothing but scum. A person should know by now that a wild animal should be in the wild where it can roam free with other species. It’s not an animal’s fault afterall it’s the human’s because they should know better. It’s absurd. RIP Travis may you rest in a better place

  • HiDefUltraRealism says:

    R.I.P. Travis. Maybe this incident will make people realize wild animals shouldn’t be held captive.

  • Kelley says:

    What an awful life Travis must have lived. RIP. PShas anyone heard what is going on with the Ringling Trial???

  • Aneliese says:

    Very sad story. When are people going to realize animals aren’t for human amusement and profit?

  • crystal says:

    My heart is broken. it makes me so angry when things like this happen. poor poor travis rest in peace.

  • Rita says:

    Did you hear? She had given her chimp Zoloft or Zyantac can’t remember which right before he went on that rampage. Why did she give medicine intended for a human to an animal?

  • Jo Ann says:

    Ashame that this poor chimp was killed because the ignorance of this woman. What bothers me she thinks she has done nothing wrong. Travis is dead and her friend is critical all because of her go figure.