updated 6/20/2009 11:24:11 AM ET 2009-06-20T15:24:11

Records obtained by The Associated Press show that Connecticut officials failed to take action after they were repeatedly warned about the dangers posed by a chimpanzee who later mauled and blinded a woman.

The 200-pound chimpanzee named Travis attacked Charla Nash of Stamford in February, ripping off her hands, nose, lips and eyelids.

She's been hospitalized at the Cleveland Clinic, where she was listed in stable condition last week.

The state's response could affect a lawsuit filed by the victim's family against chimp owner Sandra Herold. The suit seeks $50 million in damages.

Attorneys are considering suing others, but declined further comment.

Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection officials say the agency received general concerns about Travis, but no specific information that the chimpanzee was a public safety threat.

Travis attacked Nash after Herold called her to her home to help lure the animal back into her house. Herold has speculated that the chimp was trying to protect her and attacked Nash because she had changed her hairstyle, was driving a different car and was holding a stuffed toy in front of her face to get Travis’ attention.

The attack lasted about 12 minutes, and ended when police fatally shot Travis as he attempted to open a police cruiser’s door.

Herold owned the 14-year-old chimp nearly all its life, dressed the animal and fed it human foods. When he was younger, Travis starred in TV commercials for Old Navy and Coca-Cola, made an appearance on the “Maury Povich Show” and took part in a television pilot.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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