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Owner of chimpanzee in tragic mauling dies

NEW HAVEN, Conn. - The woman whose chimpanzee mauled and blinded her friend last year, leading to lawsuits and a national debate over the regulation of exotic pets, has died, her attorney said yesterday.

Sandy Herold died Monday night of a ruptured aortic aneurysm, lawyer Robert Golger said. She was 72.

The 200-pound chimpanzee, Travis, went berserk in February 2009 after Herold asked her friend, Charla Nash, to help lure it back into her house in Stamford. The animal ripped off Nash's hands, nose, lips and eyelids before it was shot and killed by police.

"Ms. Herold had suffered a series of heartbreaking losses over the last several years, beginning with the death of her only child, then her husband, then her beloved chimp Travis, as well as the tragic maiming of friend and employee Charla Nash," Golger said in a statement. "In the end, her heart, which had been broken so many times before, could take no more."

Nash recently underwent a preliminary evaluation to determine whether she is a candidate for a face and hand transplant at a Harvard-affiliated hospital. - AP

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