Pittsburgh, PA – African painted dogs mauled a toddler to death back on November 4. As previously reported by The Inquisitr, two-year-old Maddox Derkosh died after falling from a wooden railing into a pit of the dangerous African painted dogs. The mother of the boy will not be prosecuted, but police authorities are still investigating the Pittsburgh Zoo for possible criminal negligence or whether it is guilty of endangering the welfare of children.
According to the Daily Mail, Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen A. Zappala Jr. said Wednesday that Maddox Derkosh’s death at the Pittsburgh Zoo was a “tragic accident.” The boy reportedly had vision problems and wore glasses. His mother, 34-year-old Elizabeth Derkosh, lifted the boy on a railing to get a better view of the pack of African painted dogs. That’s when the accident occurred, with the boy “lunging forward, as if he thought there was some sort of clear barrier to stop him.”
Barbara Baker, CEO and president of the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium, said there is a net below the wooden railing, but the boy bounced off it and fell 11 feet into the African painted dogs enclosure. Zoo staffers arrived “within minutes” but had trouble fighting off the African painted dogs, who were savagely mauling the boy. Seven of the African painted dogs retreated, but one refused to budge from its quarry, forcing officers to shoot the animal dead.
The Pittsburgh Zoo is currently closed during criminal investigations and until it is determined what changes need to be made to prevent future accidents. Meanwhile, the newly-released calendar from the Pittsburgh Zoo and Aquarium is quickly becoming controversial because it features pictures of the African painted dogs that mauled the toddler.
Zoo officials decided to send the 2013 calendars out anyway because many had already been collected by supporters before Maddox died.
“African painted dogs are a wonderful endangered species,”‘ they said, and despite the tragedy, “they are animals that we’re responsible for taking good care of.”
Do you think the Pittsburgh Zoo should have been able to do something more about the African painted dogs? Do you think the calendar featuring the African painted dogs should be recalled?