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Chimp star of TV ads shot dead by police

A CHIMPANZEE who once starred in TV commercials attacked and badly injured a woman before police shot it outside the owner's home in the United States.

The 15-year-old chimp named Travis attacked a friend of his owner Sandra Herold when the visitor got out of her car in front of Herold's home in Stamford, Connecticut.

Herold used a butcher's knife to stab her longtime pet numerous times in an effort to save her friend, said Stamford police captain Richard Conklin.

The injured woman suffered facial injuries and blood loss and is in a serious condition in hospital. Her name has not been released.

After the initial attack, Travis ran off and started roaming Herold's property until police arrived and set up security so medics could reach the injured woman, Conklin said.

But the chimpanzee returned and went after several of the officers, who retreated into their cars, according to Conklin. Travis knocked the mirror off a cruiser before opening its door and starting to get in, trapping the officer.

That officer shot the chimpanzee several times.

The wounded animal fled the scene, but police were able to follow the trail of blood: down the driveway, into the open door of the home, through the house and to his living quarters, where he had retreated and died of his wounds.

Herold and two officers also received minor injuries, police said.

The chimpanzee was well-known around Stamford because he rode around in trucks belonging to his owners' towing company.

Police have dealt with him in the past, including an incident in 2003 when he escaped for two hours. Officers used cookies, macadamia treats and ice cream in an attempt to lure him, but subdued him only after he became too tired to resist.

At the time of the 2003 incident, police said the Herolds told them the chimpanzee was toilet trained, dressed himself, took his own bath, ate at the table and drank wine from a stemmed glass. He also brushed his teeth, logged on to the computer to look at pictures, and watched television using the remote control.

When he was younger, Travis appeared on TV commercials and took part in a television pilot. "He's been raised almost like a child by this family," Conklin said.


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