The district attorney announced November 28 that there will be no charges filed against the mother whose son was killed at the Pittsburgh Zoo. The toddler was killed when he fell into the African Painted dog pit at the Pittsburgh Zoo. The incident is being investigated by the Allegheny County District Attorney’s office, city homicide detectives, and the United States Department of Agriculture.
Maddox Derkosh was visiting the Pittsburgh Zoo on November 4 with his parents Jason and Elizabeth Derkosh. While visiting the African Painted dog exhibit, little Maddox, 4 fell over a railing of the exhibit. Eleven of the dogs attacked the little boy in a “pack attack”.
The medical examiner examined the little boy’s body and found that after being mauled by the dogs Maddox Derkosh bled to death. Witnesses stated after the attack that when the little boy fell, there was no chance to save his life. There is a net between the wooden railing and the pit where the dogs were but the toddler bounced off the net and into the area with the dogs.
The investigation found that when the boy fell, his mother Elizabeth Derkosh had a hold of him. When witnesses described the events that led up to Maddox falling into the exhibit, they said it appeared the little boy thought there was Plexiglas surrounding the area where he fell.
They went on to say Maddox lunged forward with his hands up when he toppled over the railing. District Attorney Stephen A Zappala Jr. announced his decision not to file charges against the mother.
“I’ve heard an explanation of how the child fell, and it’s a tragic accident. It was almost like a lunging motion, like he was going to go up against a hard object and stop.”
The dogs attacked the little boy the moment he hit the ground inside the exhibit. Zoo personnel raced through the exhibit in an attempt to save the little boy. They were able to lure away seven of the dogs into a secure area.
Other employees pelted the remaining animals with any objects they could to get them away from the toddler. A police officer shot and killed one of the dogs who wouldn’t leave the boy.
Zappala commented of the action taken after the boy fell and felt more could have been done. “There were some things done well, and there were some things done not so well. We’re going to try to ensure that this never occurs again.”
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