Lawyers: Warnings foresaw berserk chimpanzee

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Associated Press

Posted on August 5, 2012 at 1:31 PM

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Legal documents show an out-of-control chimpanzee that mauled a Connecticut woman in 2009 escaped from his cage five months earlier, prompting his owner to ask that he be shot with a tranquilizer gun.

The Hartford Courant reports (http://cour.at/ORXpTC ) that Marcella Leone, owner of a private zoo in Greenwich, testified in a deposition that Sandra Herold, owner of Travis the chimpanzee, called to tell her he needed to be restrained.

Nobody got hurt in that incident. But lawyers for Charla Nash of Stamford, who was blinded in the attack and has had several surgeries including a face transplant, say the 2008 phone message was one of several warnings ignored by state officials. Police fatally shot the chimpanzee during the attack.

A hearing is scheduled for Friday on whether Nash may sue the state for $150 million in claimed damages.

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Information from: The Hartford Courant, http://www.courant.com

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