Chimp attack victim Charla Nash pushing primate pet ban

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Chimp Attack Victim Pushing Primate Pet Ban


Charla Nash, the woman who famously survived a terrible chimpanzee attack in 2009, is in Washington to push Congress for change.

Charla Nash lost her eyes, nose and lips when her friend's pet chimpanzee attacked her. Now, she's hoping Congress will support the Captive Primates Safety Act.

Warning: Though Charla has come a long way, some of these photos are graphic
Chimp attack victim Charla Nash pushing primate pet ban
Charla Nash speaks with the media before Connecticut legislators at a public hearing at the Legislative Office Building, Friday, March 21, 2014, in Hartford, Conn. Nash who was mauled by a friend's chimpanzee in 2009 is making a personal plea to allow her to sue the state for $150 million in damages. The panel is considering a bill that would override the June decision by the State Claims Commissioner, who dismissed Nash's initial request for permission to sue. The state generally is immune from lawsuits, unless allowed by the claims commissioner. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)
Charla Nash, of Stamford, Connecticut, pictured March 21, 2012, was so severely mauled by Sandra Herold's 200-pound pet chimpanzee Travis, that she lost her hands and face. Nash received a face transplant in 2010 and is now filing a claim that would allow her to sue the state of Connecticut for allowing a dangerous animal to reside in Herold's home. Nash has not been home since the attack and resides in a Boston-area rehab center. (Mark Mirko/Hartford Courant/MCT via Getty Images)
Charla Nash, of Stamford, Connecticut, pictured March 21, 2012, was so severely mauled by Sandra Herold's 200-pound pet chimpanzee Travis, that she lost her hands and face. Nash received a face transplant in 2010 and is now filing a claim that would allow her to sue the state of Connecticut for allowing a dangerous animal to reside in Herold's home. Nash has not been home since the attack and resides in a Boston-area rehab center. (Mark Mirko/Hartford Courant/MCT via Getty Images)
Charla Nash, right, eats a banana with help from her daughter Briana Nash during a public hearing with Connecticut legislators at the Legislative Office Building, Friday, March 21, 2014, in Hartford, Conn. Nash who was mauled by a friend's chimpanzee in 2009 is making a personal plea to allow her to sue the state for $150 million in damages. The panel is considering a bill that would override the June decision by the State Claims Commissioner, who dismissed Nash's initial request for permission to sue. The state generally is immune from lawsuits, unless allowed by the claims commissioner. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)
Charla Nash sits before for a hearing at the Legislative Office Building in Hartford, Conn., Friday, Aug. 10, 2012. Nash who was mauled in a 2009 chimpanzee attack is attending a hearing to determine whether she may sue the state for $150 million in claimed damages. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)
Charla Nash sits before a hearing at the Legislative Office Building in Hartford, Conn., Friday, Aug. 10, 2012. Nash who was mauled in a 2009 chimpanzee attack is attending a hearing to determine whether she may sue the state for $150 million in claimed damages. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)
The gated driveway to the home where a woman was mauled by a chimpanzee this week is seen on Friday, Feb. 20, 2009 in Stamford, Conn. Police say Travis attacked Charla Nash of Stamford, when she arrived at owner Sandra Herold's house to help lure the chimp back inside. Herold speculated that Travis was being protective of her and attacked Nash because she had a different hairstyle, was driving a different car and held a stuffed toy in front of her face to get the chimp's attention. (AP Photo/Douglas Healey)
The gated driveway to the home where a woman was mauled by a chimpanzee this week is seen on Friday, Feb. 20, 2009 in Stamford, Conn. Police say Travis attacked Charla Nash of Stamford, when she arrived at owner Sandra Herold's house to help lure the chimp back inside. Herold speculated that Travis was being protective of her and attacked Nash because she had a different hairstyle, was driving a different car and held a stuffed toy in front of her face to get the chimp's attention. (AP Photo/Douglas Healey)
Briana Nash, left, looks at her mother, Charla Nash after she finished speaking to Connecticut legislators at a public hearing at the Legislative Office Building, Friday, March 21, 2014, in Hartford, Conn. Nash who was mauled by a friend's chimpanzee in 2009 is making a personal plea to allow her to sue the state for $150 million in damages. The panel is considering a bill that would override the June decision by the State Claims Commissioner, who dismissed Nash's initial request for permission to sue. The state generally is immune from lawsuits, unless allowed by the claims commissioner. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)
Briana Nash, left, helps her mother Charla Nash with a mesh cap before she speaks before Connecticut legislators at a public hearing at the Legislative Office Building, Friday, March 21, 2014, in Hartford, Conn. Nash who was mauled by a friend's chimpanzee in 2009 is making a personal plea to allow her to sue the state for $150 million in damages. The panel is considering a bill that would override the June decision by the State Claims Commissioner, who dismissed Nash's initial request for permission to sue. The state generally is immune from lawsuits, unless allowed by the claims commissioner. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)
Charla Nash pulls away a mesh cap to show her wound and bandages before speaking with Connecticut legislators at a public hearing at the Legislative Office Building, Friday, March 21, 2014, in Hartford, Conn. Nash who was mauled by a friend's chimpanzee in 2009 is making a personal plea to allow her to sue the state for $150 million in damages. The panel is considering a bill that would override the June decision by the State Claims Commissioner, who dismissed Nash's initial request for permission to sue. The state generally is immune from lawsuits, unless allowed by the claims commissioner. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)
Charla Nash arrives with her brother Stephen, left, for a hearing at the Legislative Office Building in Hartford, Conn., Friday, Aug. 10, 2012. Nash who was mauled in a 2009 chimpanzee attack is attending a hearing to determine whether she may sue the state for $150 million in claimed damages. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)
FILE - These undated file photos provided Thursday, Aug. 11, 2011 by the Brigham and Women’s Hospital show chimpanzee attack victim Charla Nash after the attack, left, and post-face transplant surgery, right. The U.S. government wants to start regulating face and hand transplants just as kidneys, hearts and other organs are now. That means establishing waiting lists, a system to allocate body parts and donor testing to prevent deadly infections. Officials say this is a big step toward expanding access to these radical operations, especially for wounded troops returning home. The new rule is expected to take effect later in 2012 or early 2013. (AP Photo/Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Lightchaser Photography, File)
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That bill would add "nonhuman primates as prohibited wildlife species" to own as pets, in addition to lions and tigers - which are already prohibited.

Nash has been battling in courtrooms for compensation from the state of Connecticut where the attack happened. She blamed the state for not seizing the chimp. Before the attack, a biologist for the state had learned about the 200-pound chimp and, in a memo to state officials, called him "an accident waiting to happen."

"Based on the information, I feel that the state knew what was happening and failed to protect me," WTNH reports.

As for Charla, it's been a while since she spoke out in the media. Back in 2011, she opened up to NBC about her difficult recovery, saying: "I'm doing good but I've had a lot of setbacks."

By working to get primates banned as pets, Nash says she hopes to keep the same kind of attack from happening to someone else.

Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal is one of the sponsors of the bill in the Senate. He's predicting an easy victory for the legislation.

About half of states already ban primate pets, but critics argue there are plenty of loopholes to get around them.

The Humane Society, which is supporting Nash's push for the Captive Primates Act, notes people can still get primates as pets online or through dealers and auctions.

Chimps can live for about 60 years and get well over 200 pounds. PBS once reported estimates that there were more than 700 living in the United States as pets.

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