If you've watched the news on TV at all yesterday or today, you've probably had some time to think about the insane tale of Travis the chimp, the 200-pound, 13-year-old pet of a Stamford, Connecticut, couple that went berserk yesterday and gruesomely mauled a family friend. This morning the tale made the covers of both New York tabloids, though only the Post came up with the most obvious headline. (Come on, Daily News, "Attack of the TV Ape?" Please.) If you have spent some time thinking about this horrible story (Travis, after being stabbed by his owner in an attempt to get him off his victim, was eventually shot several times by police), you probably have some questions.
We do too, mostly relating to the fact that Travis was raised like a human member of the family after the death of its owner's daughter more than a decade ago. Here 's what we are wondering:
• Why was this animal taught how to use keys to get in and out of the house and family cars?
• Why was this animal taught to log onto the internet? And use the TV remote?
• Why was this animal, which spent most of its time lolling around in a pair of reinforced underpants, taught to drink wine? Out of stemware?
• Who gives an animal tea to calm it down?
• And who gives an animal tea with Xanax?
Seriously, this guy was living the life a human divorcée would find normal. We get that chimps share 90 percent of their DNA with people, and are very smart and capable. But when you're giving your pet skills and substances you wouldn't give a human child, doesn't that seem like a recipe for disaster? We blame this entirely on the short-lived 1991 sitcom Harry and the Hendersons.
HAVOC AS CHIMP GOES APE [NYP]