News24

Mom helped child onto zoo railing

2012-11-06 08:15

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.

Comments
  • Sheilan.Clarke - 2012-11-06 08:27

    I knew it. Those railings are quite high for a child of that age to get on.

  • niall.wilkins - 2012-11-06 08:54

    Why didn't mum jump in after baby??? I would have. No question about it. So so sad.

      Loura Holtzhausen Stegmann - 2013-09-19 08:15

      Cause she is not a real mother!!

  • diana.gill.18 - 2012-11-06 09:00

    This mom is of the same sort as the one who took her 3 months old baby to a late night movie show only to meet a sick man with a rifle.

  • tonyzr2tx - 2012-11-06 09:17

    These dogs are born to roam the wide open spaces, they have no place in a zoo. This comment goes for most of the animals in zoos. No wonder they were aggressive to the child, total boredom and frustration.

      darryl.scott.77770 - 2012-11-06 10:00

      If the East (with the help from some locals) carry on like they do, a zoo will be the only place you will see any "wild" animal.

  • ever.ryman - 2012-11-06 09:18

    Bet it won't stop her from suing the zoo for gaziliions of dollars!

  • lielie.smit - 2012-11-06 09:22

    I can only imagine the horror and the nightmares that will be with her til the day she dies

  • craig.vince.3 - 2012-11-06 10:29

    And the Darwin Award goes to??

  • cameron.ross.7564 - 2012-11-06 11:29

    This is why animals shouldnt be in a zoo. They shot one cause it followed its natural instincts and ended up dying cause of a careless parent! bring them back to africa where they belong!!

  • danielle.clydewiggins - 2012-11-06 13:56

    Safety rails are there for a reason!!! What is a mother doing encouraging her child to stand on them? The dogs acted entirely out of natural instinct, the mother should be fined for the avoidable death of an endangered animal and for failing to abide by obvious safety measures.

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