Conn. outlaws private ownership of chimps

June 4, 2009 at 4:53 PM

HARTFORD, Conn., June 4 (UPI) -- Connecticut lawmakers unanimously approved a bill, prompted by a brutal chimpanzee attack, banning the private ownership of chimps, gorillas and orangutans.

The vote, which passed the state House of Representatives 151-0 and the state Senate 36-0, was prompted by the Feb. 16 mauling of 55-year-old Charla Nash by a 200-pound pet chimpanzee in Stamford, Conn., the Hartford (Conn.) Courant reported Thursday.

Nash was brutally attacked, disfigured and blinded when she visited the home of her friend Sandra Herold to help calm Herold's 14-year-old chimp, Travis.

Police shot and killed the animal.

Nash is undergoing treatment at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, the hospital that performed the world's first near-total face transplant.

The Connecticut legislative vote Wednesday came a day after state Attorney General Richard Blumenthal decried the fact that "lawmakers failed to pass my proposal."

The approved measure drastically pares back the list of animals added to those already banned under existing law.

The earlier version would have also banned baboons, kangaroos, wolverines, hyenas, elephants, hippos, alligators, crocodiles, rattlesnakes, cobras and pythons.

Among those opposing the original version were ferret owners concerned the legislation could be used to ban their pets, Democratic state Rep. Richard Roy said.

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