African painted dogs that were on exhibit at the Pittsburgh Zoo mauled and killed a two year old boy
A two year old boy, visiting with his family, fell off of a railing that his mom had placed him on so he could view a pack of African painted dogs better and the dogs attacked and mauled the child who later died.
Whether he died from the fall, which was 11 to 14 feet down or from the attack by the animals was not clear as of yet.
Pittsburgh police officer Kevin Kraus said the dogs attacked the child immediately after he fell around noon on Sunday.
“It was very horrific,” he said
As soon as the child feel, other zoo guests rushed to tell zoo staff members who immediately went to the cage to call off the dogs.
A zoo guest who was around when the tragic accident happened told the Pittsburgh-Post Gazette;
‘The screams just kept coming and coming: “Someone help. Someone has to do something, We were on our way to the polar bear exhibit when we heard the most horrible piercing screams, Someone was begging for help, asking someone to do something.’
Police tried using dummy tranquilizer darts but they were not working.
Seven of the dogs finally responded and left the area but three stayed for a while and one would not leave the child at all and was very aggressive.
The police had to shoot that dog to make him stop mauling the child.
The child was pronounced dead at the scene 12 p.m
The zoo was closed and there is no news on when it will open again.
The mother is a 34 year old Pleasant Hills woman and the father arrived at the zoo as soon as he was called. There names have not been released yet.
The African painted dogs are medium sized dogs that can weigh between 35-80 pounds and are known as hunting dogs. They are considered endangered.
The dogs hunt in packs in the wild and it is being said that they were in “pack mentality’ when they mauled the child.
The dogs live in an exhibit that is part of an area called African Savanna and visitors walk onto a deck to see them. There is a mesh barrier under the railing but it is not there to catch humans.
This is the first death that the zoo has ever had. They are still unsure of if they will continue with the African dog exhibit.
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