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Zoo To Reopen After Boy’s Death In African Painted Dogs Exhibit

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

Ralph Iannotti Ralph Iannotti
Ralph Iannotti began working as a KDKA-TV general assignment reporter...
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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium reopens its doors Tuesday morning for the first time since late Sunday morning when a 2-year-old boy fell into an animal exhibit and was mauled by a wild pack of dogs.

Maddox Derkosh, 2, of Whitehall, lost his life when – while being held by his mother – he fell from the railing of an observation deck of the African Painted Dog exhibit Sunday morning.

Seconds later, he was attacked by the dogs.

One local resident, Dorothy Hartman, said she happy to hear the news that the zoo was going to reopen.

Matt Davies, a Lawrenceville resident, said he was also glad that the zoo would be reopening, but said this weekend’s tragedy will make him more aware.

“It won’t keep me from going to the zoo, but it will definitely make me more aware of what can happen,” Davies said.

At an emotional news conference Monday afternoon, the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium’s Dr. Barbara Baker explained why no one entered the pit just after the boy fell.

“The question came to us of course immediately, ‘Why didn’t staff go in?’” she said. “And it was too dangerous.”

Officials at the zoo say the African Painted Dogs will be quarantined for the next month, but they will not be euthanized.

Also, the observation deck exhibit area will remain off limits to visitors while the dogs will be able to roam some sections of the African savannah closure.

Multiple investigations are underway into the incident including the Pittsburgh Police, the Allegheny County District Attorney’s Office, an in-house probe, National Association of Zoos and the federal government.

As those investigations move forward, the tragedy continues to reverberate throughout the community.

“I feel like there should have been better, appropriate regulations as to what you can and cannot do with your children,” said Katrina Wilkins, of Homewood.

“I know if a dog bites a kid on the street, it gets put to sleep,” added William McManus, of Lawrenceville.

RELATED LINKS:
Zoo Officials Consider Future Of African Painted Dogs Exhibit (11/5/12)
More Pittsburgh Zoo News
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