PITTSBURGH (AP/KDKA) – A newly released report shows that Pittsburgh Zoo staff raised concerns about a child falling through an opening into an African painted dog exhibit on at least six separate occasions before a fatal mauling in 2012.
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette says the federal report was released this month more than four years it filed a Freedom of Information Act request. The report found the zoo’s fencing around the wild dog exhibit was “not sufficient” to prevent 2-year-old Maddox Derkosh from falling into the exhibit. He was mauled to death by the 11 painted dogs.
Many of the concerns raised by the safety committee were already made public in the course of the now-settled civil lawsuit by Maddox’s parents.
The zoo says it cannot legally comment on the matter due to confidentiality.
They released this statement:
- Safety is and always will be a priority for the Zoo. We are constantly on alert for safety concerns, for our visitors, animals and staff.
- The Zoo has well established policies and procedures to constantly evaluate safety and security on our grounds, with state certified committees. These policies are reviewed and updated every year. Information is communicated to all levels of management.
- All of the Zoo’s exhibits meet or exceed the highest standards for animal care and visitor safety. After careful inspection, it was determined that the painted dog exhibit continuously exceeded the safety requirements mandated by the USDA and AZA.
- The USDA had conducted 35 inspections at the painted dog exhibit since its opening in 2006. At no time had any concerns or violations regarding this exhibit been identified by the regulatory agency.
- In 2014, the Zoo opened a new exhibit, highlighting giraffe, zebra, and cheetah in the general area where the accident occurred.
- Due to a confidentiality agreement with the family, the Pittsburgh Zoo cannot legally comment further on this matter.
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