2nd woman says chimp attacked her in 1996

Feb. 19, 2009 at 3:36 PM
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STAMFORD, Conn., Feb. 19 (UPI) -- An Atlanta woman Thursday said she was attacked by the same 200-pound chimpanzee that was fatally shot after viciously attacking its owner's friend.

Leslie Mostel-Paul, who used to live in Stamford, Conn., told NBC-TV's "Today" show that Travis, the chimp, bit her hand in 1996 and tried to drag her into a car as she greeted him.

She said she complained to the chimp's owner and to police.

Authorities have not pressed charges against Sandra Herold, the chimp's owner, who raised him from infancy and described him as a loving pet. Herold said the animal's savage attack on Charla Nash of Stamford, Conn., Monday was totally out of character.

Nash, 55, remained hospitalized Thursday with critical injuries to her face and hands. Doctors said Nash had made "some good, but small, progress."

"While she remains in critical but stable condition, her vital signs are improving," said Dr. Kevin Miller, Nash's attending surgeon and physician of record.

Most of her face was ripped off in the attack, authorities said.

But Stamford Hospital spokesman Scott Orstad told The (Stamford) Advocate there were no plans to transfer Nash to an Ohio hospital for a face transplant.

In December, the Cleveland Clinic became the first U.S. hospital to perform a face transplant, a highly experimental procedure.

Orstad said the Nash family was considering options, but was not prepared to discuss her care yet.

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