2 year old attacked by African Painted Dogs

Nicole Jelinek, Entertainment Editor

On Monday morning, November 14, a two year old boy fell into the African Painted Dog exhibit and was killed at the Pittsburgh Zoo and & PPG Aquarium.

The boy was identified by the Post-Gazette as Maddock Derkosh of Pleasant Hills. He and his mother were visiting the zoo, and all was good until the mother lifted her son up and set him on the rail to “get a better look” at the animals. After doing so, the boy lost his balance, fell on to the net barrier (bouncing twice), then into the African Dog exhibit where he was almost immediately attacked by the pack of 11 dogs.

It was unclear if the boy died from the fall or the attack, until Tuesday when NBC reported that after further investigation it was from the animals.  Authorities responded to the boy’s fall with-in minutes, getting 8 of the 11 dogs away instantly but struggled with the last 3.

Angela Cinti, a zoo visitor, told the Post- Gazette, “There were 3 dogs, one at his head, one on the left side of his neck, and another one down by his leg.”  Zoo keepers managed to get 2 more off, but the last one was so aggressive that it had to be shot.

The zoo was immediately closed down for the rest of the day Monday and on Tuesday for more investigation of the occurrence. Barbra Baker, CEO and president of the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium, went on to tell press, “The zoo feels terrible about this tragic accident that happened. It’s a worst nightmare as a zoo professional.”

It is unknown as to what, if anything, will be done to the African Painted dogs exhibit. Earlier this year in May, the dogs dug a hole into another part of the animal exhibits, causing the zoo to go on lock down for over an hour for safety precautions.

These dogs are wild and about as big as a medium-sized dog. They are noted for their big ears and their brown and black spots. The dogs live and travel in packs, targeting prey such as antelopes and gazelles. They are very aggressive and are noted for their savage killing tactics.