Pittsburg Zoo Blames Mother In 2-Year-Old’s Mauling Death

Jennifer Deutschmann - Author

Sep. 12 2013, Updated 10:31 a.m. ET

The Pittsburgh Zoo is blaming a mother for a 2-year-old’s mauling death. Maddox Derkosh was killed by a pack of African dogs at the zoo. His mother reportedly held him above the railing so he would have a better view.

Maddox somehow fell over the railing and into the dog exhibit.

His parents have filed a lawsuit in the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas. The wrongful death suit alleges that the exhibit was unsafe.

As reported by CBS News, attorneys for The Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium argue that the mother is to blame. Their response to the lawsuit states:

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“Maddox Derkosh’s death [was] caused solely by the carelessness, negligence, and/or recklessness of Elizabeth Derkosh.”

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The response further states that Derkosh should have realized the risk in lifting her son above the rail. They suggest that she failed “to maintain a proper grasp” on her son, which led to the tragic accident.

The Derkosh’s attorney, Robert Mongeluzzi, says the response was “wrong and shameful.” He contends that netting around the exhibit proves the zoo expected things to fall inside the exhibit.

Mongeluzzi says if they knew it was a possibility, the Pittsburgh Zoo should have done something to prevent it.

As reported by NBC News, several employees expressed concern about the enclosure’s accessibility. However, their recommendations were ignored.

The fence around the African dog exhibit was around four feet high.

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Maddox reportedly had poor vision, prompting his mother to lift him over the rail. Witnesses say the 2-year-old lunged forward and out of his mother’s hands.

The African dogs mauled the child before zookeepers had a chance to respond. Maddox died of blood loss.

Maddox Derkosh’s life ended in a tragic accident. Placing blame is not likely to make the situation any better. It is doubtful that the Pittsburgh Zoo, or Maddox’s mother, expected the child to die in the exhibit.

[Image via Wikimedia]


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