Herold, a widow whose daughter was killed in a car accident several years ago, told the Today Show that the incident was “a freak thing.”
She said Travis “couldn’t have been more my son than if I gave birth to him,” and rejected criticism that chimpanzees are inappropriate pets.
“It’s a horrible thing, but I’m not a horrible person and he’s not a horrible chimp.” she said.
The unexplained attack was uncharacteristic of Travis, a veteran of TV commercials who could eat at the table, drink wine from a stemmed glass, use the toilet, and dress and bathe himself.
Don Mecca, a family friend from Colchester, N.Y., said Herold fed the chimp steak, lobster, ice cream and Italian food.