Child mauled at Pittsburgh zoo fell off railing, police say

Mon Nov 5, 2012 12:43pm EST

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(Reuters) - 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 up on a railing before he fell and was immediately attacked by 11 dogs, police said.

The boy was visiting the zoo 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 zoo was closed immediately after the incident on Sunday and remained shut on Monday.

Authorities are trying to determine if the boy died from the fall or the attack, Pittsburgh police spokeswoman Diane Richard said 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 fired multiple gunshots to kill 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 2 feet to 3.5 feet (0.6 meters to 1 meter). 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. (Reporting by Kevin Gray in Miami; Editing by Bill Trott)

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Comments (9)
WhyMeLord wrote:
There should be some sort of minimum intelligence test required before a woman is allowed to conceive and raise a child in today’s society. How often have we seen mothers put their children in harm’s way just so that they can get a better view of something. Does the child even comprehend what they’re seeing, or is it just a freak show the mother’s putting on?
At the least, she should be charged with reckless child endangerment.

Nov 05, 2012 12:38pm EST  --  Report as abuse
fpembroke wrote:
Amen to that. I wouldn’t have put my child in a position where she could fall fourteen feet (or eleven, depending on the source)into a pit full of fuzzy bunnies, much less a pack of the most ruthless killers on the planet. Who wants to bet that she blames the zoo for not preventing her stupidity and sues them?

Nov 05, 2012 12:52pm EST  --  Report as abuse
What a horrific accident, so many mothers around the world would have done the same thing and instead of facing horrendous consequences will have been met with the delighted giggles of their toddler before moving on to the next attraction. I hope people realise that this mother will be going through hell without the additional judgement cast upon her by strangers. She will feel responsible for the death of her own child, I can’t even begin to imagine how that feels. My heart goes out to the family at this awful time. xx

Nov 05, 2012 1:05pm EST  --  Report as abuse
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