PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – The escape of several rare African Painted Dogs from their main exhibit area temporarily shut down the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium Saturday morning.

People visiting the zoo were quickly brought inside, but zoo officials say there was never a serious danger since the dog remained enclosed in a backup yard.

They are rare animals; there are fewer than 5,000 of them in the world.

The Pittsburgh Zoo is helping to preserve the African Painted Dog, which is described as an inquisitive animal.

So inquisitive, that nine of the dogs found a tiny opening in the fence Saturday morning, crawled under it and got out of their regular exhibit area.

“They actually were never out of their exhibit. They were never out of their fence-line,” said Dr. Barbara Baker, the director of the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium. “They simply were in a backup yard, rather than in their main exhibit.”

But the zoo took full precautions, calling a Code Red when the incident happened.

Officials say about 200 people on the zoo grounds were ushered into buildings to be on the safe side. But zoo officials say no one was in danger.

They finally coaxed the dogs back into their exhibit area the same way you’d get your dog to return home, with food.

Now, the zoo is fixing the fence.

“We’ll inspect that fence-line, make sure that there’s no openings again,” said Baker. “Then, they’ll be able to be out on exhibit again.”

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