Mom helped child onto zoo railing

2012-11-06 08:15


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Washington - The mother of a 2-year-old boy who died after falling into a pit of African wild dogs at the Pittsburgh Zoo stood him on a railing before he fell and was attacked by 11 dogs, police said on Monday.

The boy was visiting the zoo on Sunday with his 34-year-old mother, who had put him on the railing for a better view of the animals, known as African painted dogs, police said.

The Allegheny County Medical Examiner's Office identified the boy as Maddox Derkosh and said in a statement that he bled to death from "multiple trauma, inflicted through mauling by wild African dogs."

The investigation was continuing, it said.

The zoo was closed after the incident and remained shut on Monday.

Eleven dogs swarmed the boy after he fell. Zookeepers rushed to the exhibit area housing the animals, firing darts to frighten them away from the child before police arrived.

Zoo staff secured 10 of the dogs but police entered the pit and shot and killed the last dog, which was particularly aggressive toward the child and the officers, authorities said.

African painted dogs are endangered and native to sub-Saharan Africa, according to the National Geographic website.

The animals have an average size of just over 1m. They are also known as Cape hunting dogs or painted dogs because of their mottled coats with patches of red, black, brown, white and yellow fur.

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