onnecticut woman mauled by chimp says governor knew animal was dangerous

Updated: Monday, 26 Mar 2012, 11:14 AM EDT
Published : Monday, 26 Mar 2012, 11:14 AM EDT

HARTFORD, Conn. (NEWSCORE) – The woman who underwent a face transplant after she was nearly killed in an attack by a pet chimpanzee said Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy knew the animal was dangerous as far back as 2003.

Charla Nash, 58, was blinded and had her face, nose, lips and eyelids torn off in February 2009 by a 200-pound pet chimp named Travis, who was owned by a friend.

In an interview with the Hartford Courant, Nash said Malloy, then the mayor of Stamford, allowed Travis’ owner, Sandra Herold, to take him home after he broke free from his enclosure at Herold’s home and roamed the streets of Stamford.

She said Herold told her that Malloy “allowed [Herold] to take Travis home and said [to] keep him locked up. I think it was said that if he got loose again, they were going to shoot him. That’s what Sandra told me.”

Roy Occhiogrosso, Malloy’s senior adviser, told the Courant that Malloy may have met Herold at one of his meetings with residents, but denied that he ever discussed the chimp with her.

Nash is suing the estate of Herold, who died in 2010, for $50 million over the attack, and is pursuing a $150 million lawsuit against the state of Connecticut for failing to protect the public from a dangerous animal.

“I don’t want to owe everyone for the rest of my life, and I don’t want to be a burden on everyone the rest of my life,” said Nash, whose doctor bills add up to “millions of dollars.”

She became the third American to receive a full-face transplant in June 2011. The other two were performed earlier in the year at Brigham and Women’s, which leads the world in face transplant surgery.

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