Graveyard Shift 18 Terrifying Stories Of Pets Who Turned On Their Owners  

Mike Rothschild
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Even with training and domestication, pets have been known to turn on their owners and kill them. Sadly, this is all the more common with exotic animals that are difficult or impossible to train, such as lions, bears, and snakes. These stories are tragic, usually of devoted pet guardians attempting to simply do what can't be donetame a wild beast.

Pets who have killed include a famous chimpanzee, various reptiles, a hippo that inspired a TV special, bears, and even spiders. A few of these cases resulted from people who were clearly hoarders and should never have been allowed to keep any pets, but many were just animal owners who had fallen in love with an exotic creature, and paid the ultimate price.

Here are terrifying stories of people killed by their own pets.

Travis The Chimpanzee Mauled A Woman's Face

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Photo: Fair Use

Travis the Chimpanzee became famous after he appeared in TV shows, commercials, and on talk shows with his owner Sandra Herold. In 2009, Herold called her friend Charla Nash for help getting the 200-pound chimp back into his cage.

But Travis saw Nash holding one of his toys, and brutally attacked her by mauling her face and hands. Herold tried to stop Travis by stabbing him and hitting with a shovel, which only angered him more. She called 911 and police arrived, which led to Travis opening the door of one of the police cars. An officer shot Travis, and the chimp staggered away and died.

Nash's family was in the process of suing Herold when Herold died of an ruptured aorta.

A few years later, Nash became the first patient to ever receive a double hand and face transplant.

Scarface The Pitbull Mauls His Owner Over A Sweater

Scarface The Pitbull Mauls His... is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list 18 Terrifying Stories Of Pets Who Turned On Their Owners
Photo:  ligiera/Pixabay/CC0 1.0

A Florida woman and her family were mauled by her pet pitbull after she tried to put a sweater on him.

The pitbull - ironically named Scarface - attacked Brenda Guerrero, 52, in her Tampa home on New Year's Day in 2017. When her husband Ismael stepped in to help her, the dog turned on him. The couple's 22-year-old son tried to intervene - this time with a knife - and even after he stabbed Scarface the dog still attacked.

The three eventually managed to escape into the house, leaving the dog outside. Animal Control officers were called to the home and had to subdue the dog with a Taser. Officials said the dog was "aggressive." Sounds like an understatement. 

Teddy The Black Bear Killed His Owner While She Cleaned His Cage

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Photo: Terry Spivey/Wikimedia Commons

The Walz family of Allentown, PA, had raised their 350-pound black bear Teddy since it was a cub. But even so, the bear attacked and killed Kelly Ann Walz as she was cleaning his cage. She made the mistake of cleaning the cage while Teddy was still in it, which apparently set him off. Neighbor children saw the attack, and their father shot and killed Teddy.

Authorities soon discovered that Kelly's husband's license to keep and sell exotic animals had expired.

A Hoarder Was Bitten By His Pet Black Widow

A Hoarder Was Bitten By His Pe... is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list 18 Terrifying Stories Of Pets Who Turned On Their Owners
Photo: Blooming Dedelaus/Wikimedia Commons


A resident of Dortmund, Germany, Mark Voegel lived a solitary life in a small apartment, keeping the company only of the numerous insects and snakes he collected as pets. It was one of these, a black widow spider, that caused his demise. Apparently the heater on the tank he used to house his spiders had burst, allowing them to crawl free. A black widow bit Voegel and killed him, and in the two weeks it took for him to be found, his menagerie feasted on him.

Hundreds of spiders, lizards, and snakes - along with countless termites - had eaten him, with webs draping his body, and bits of him scattered all around the apartment.