A Connecticut police officer shot and killed a pet chimpanzee that mauled a friend of its owner on Monday. The 200-pound chimp, Travis, who once starred in an Old Navy commercial for cargo shorts, had been running loose after using using a key to get out of the house. (New York Daily News)
What the commentators said
"I'm very sorry for the injuries" sustained by Travis' owner and her friend, said Emily Moulton in Gather. But isn't this the sort of tragedy we should expect when someone keeps a wild animal as a pet? "There's a good reason you can't go to your local pet store and buy your own Travis the chimp."
Travis was living the life of a human being, not a chimp, said Chris Rovzar in New York magazine. Travis' owners—Sandy Herold and her husband, Jerome—raised the 13-year-old chimp like a human member of the family after the death of their daughter a decade ago. The animal drank wine, and could log onto the Internet and use keys to get into the house and car. When you give a pet "skills and substances you wouldn't give a human child, doesn't that seem like a recipe for disaster?"
Maybe chimps don't make the best pets, said The Women on the Web blog. But the most important concern here is that a human being—the owner's friend, Charla Nash—is now hospitalized in extremely critical condition with life-threatening injuries to her face, neck, and hands. Police are trying to figure out what triggered the attack, but for now we should all be wishing Nash "a speedy recovery."