Child Killed By African Dogs At Zoo Died In Several Agonizing Minutes

Mon, November 5, 2012 2:16pm EDT by 43 Comments
Pittsburgh Zoo Accident
Courtesy of Wikipedia

Poor baby. The 2-year-old boy who died at the Pittsburgh Zoo on Nov. 4 was killed after anguishing minutes of being attacked by the pack of wild dogs — not by the 14-foot fall itself.

Tragedy struck the Pittsburgh Zoo on Nov. 4 when a 2-year-old boy was viciously mauled to death by a pack of African painted dogs in front of horrified spectators. Zoo president Dr. Barbara Baker said during a press conference on Nov. 5 the baby fell from a barrier railing 14 feet high, landed into a safety net, but then bounced out and fell into the exhibit, where he was killed.

The zoo will remain closed as police and internal investigators look into the horrific crime — the first of any of its kind in the zoo’s more than 100-year history.

“Very unfortunately, in this situation, the dogs were doing what the dogs would normally do,” Dr. Baker said during a press conference from the Pittsburgh Zoo.

The child fell 14 feet from the barrier railing outside the African painted dog exhibit into a grassy yard where the dogs live. Dr. Baker said the boy died after several agonizing minutes from the wounds he suffered from the mauling attack, not from the fall itself.

She added that zoo officials acted appropriately per their official procedure, and that responders were on the scene within seconds. Although zoo keepers were able to lure some of the dogs away from the boy, it was deemed unsafe for workers to enter the exhibit itself..

She said witnesses reported seeing the baby fall down onto a safety net, designed to catch any falling objects, but since he was so small, he bounced twice on the net and then fell into the exhibit.

“We discourage people from letting their children sit on the railing…this is a horrible horrible tragedy, but the zoo has been here since 1898, and this is the first time we’ve had any type of visitor injury,” she said.

Dr. Baker said that the entire zoo is closed for the investigation, and the specific exhibit will remain closed throughout the winter. Any changes that need to be made will be in effect by the time it re-opens in the spring.

“The zoo feels terrible about this tragic accident, that this occurred at our zoo,” she said. “It’s our worst nightmare as zoo professionals.”

What do YOU think of the accident HollyMoms?

– Christina Stiehl

More tragic HollyBaby news:

  1. Child Mauled To Death By 11 African Dogs At Pittsburgh Zoo
  2. Two Kids Die After Being Ripped From Mom’s Arms In Hurricane
  3. Two Children Killed By Fallen Tree During Hurricane Sandy — So Sad

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Ty

Posted at 6:45 AM on July 14, 2014  

Bloody mother is a clown it was her fault the child was in the rail and fell in she shouldn’t have gotten a cent bloody FOOL

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Angel

Posted at 9:49 AM on December 21, 2013  

No, it should not be closed permanently, but it should be made safer. Stupid people who claim not to know that WILD DOGS are dangerous don’t deserve to lose their kids, and certainly this poor baby didn’t deserve such a violent death. They ought to do what the space needle in Seattle did to prevent people from jumping off after many suicides there.

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VERONICA

Posted at 2:05 AM on December 13, 2012  

Da MOTHER of dis poor deceased child iz a CARELESS IDIOT & dis whole situation could be PREVENTED if she neva acted STUPID by putting her kid on da rail on da 1st place & why in da hell did she not jump in & protect her child from da animals???? She is a BAD EXAMPLE of a mother!!!! smdh

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Angel

Posted at 9:49 AM on December 21, 2013  

Talk about an idiot. You ought to learn how to spell properly. Maybe YOU ought to be punished by losing a child. Make sense? NO… this mother didn’t deserve this, and her baby didn’t, either, just because she was stupid. Grow up!

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GRACE

Posted at 11:41 AM on November 7, 2012  

You cannot put a child on a rail and expect them to balance, he should have NEVER been up there, and also heard the mother was trying to take a picture, could this be ANOTHER death with links to a stupid cell phone. She made have been texting, who knows, I feel so sorry for that little boy, and the family. Whoever invented cellphones forgot about all the IDIOTS in the world, however, this may have not been the case.

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Mel

Posted at 1:24 PM on January 1, 2013  

Cell phones and other things people use aren’t the issue. A persons lack of being able to multi-task is. I’m not sure what line of work doesn’t require that type of skill, but some people just don’t have it. The article didn’t say anything about a phone, but maybe you have been personally effected by one. I have been using a cell phone for the past 16 years, and never have an issue with talking or texting on it while completing other task. I talk and drive, only text and drive on voice command, either way I dont touch my phone while driving. Thats the beauty of technology. This woman was not paying attention to her 2 year old, which should have been on her like glue. That is the problem.

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Renata

Posted at 9:02 AM on September 17, 2013  

People are to blame, NOT CELL PHONES OR ANOTHER OTHER MATERIAL ITEMS! Geez, why dont you people understand this?

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sharon

Posted at 6:36 PM on November 6, 2012  

I never felt that exhibit was safe. It always creeped me out since the day they opened it. The zoo keeps touting first accident in over 100 years, but that exhibit hasn’t been open for many years. It is the only unsafe exhibit at the zoo, but it is obviously unsafe. A child could climb up to see during a field trip or something and we could have a repeat incident. There should be a barrier between where someone might fall and the animal. There is a barrier found at the lion, tiger and bear exhibits. I hope the Pgh. zoo either closes the exhibit or makes changes to make it a safe exhibit.

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Karyn Turner

Posted at 1:30 PM on November 6, 2012  

Standing a 2 year old child up on a railing some 20 feet above a wild animal exhibit is just completely careless. I cannot imagine what this child endured, and how this family will ever get over this tragedy.

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Dana

Posted at 5:30 AM on November 6, 2012  

This is terrible tragedy!!! Prayers to the mother and father , this was truly an accident,however 11 angry wild African dogs or not i would have jumped in and layed on top of my child and let them maul me rather than my child. Your first instinct as a parent is to protect your child.. I am sure the mother will never get through this but no matter what anyone has to say. The fact she had to watch her baby boy die is something she should never had witnessed. Have a heart and send prayers their way.

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Heaven

Posted at 2:19 AM on November 6, 2012  

Parental neglect here! The kid should have never been on the railing. Stupid parents

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rachel

Posted at 12:52 AM on November 6, 2012  

That’s horrifically horrific….So…disgusting…:’\ Poor, poor child…I just…Wow….I’m pretty speechless right now…Just imagining that happen to me, or one of my family members….It’s a TRAGEDY for sure! I send my deep and dearest condolences to the WHOLE family…It’s going to take a long time to heal from this….Just tragic indeed. :( </3 R.I.P beautiful, little one!

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Barb

Posted at 10:30 PM on November 5, 2012  

My condolences to the parents and family of this poor child. But I have to wonder why the child was on the railing in the first place. A 2 year old would not be able to get to the railing himself and where was the mother if he was able to climb the fence. Im sorry, but I see terrible neglect here, and a tragic accident. Rest in peace little one.

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Laura Bee

Posted at 10:28 PM on November 5, 2012  

I saw a video on YouTube of a much smaller pack (five dogs, I believe) hunting and taking down an impala. It was 26 seconds between them catching the impala and ripping it in half – literally in two pieces! How much softer is a toddler… No one could have gotten in there fast enough to save the child.

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James

Posted at 9:47 PM on November 5, 2012  

My heart aches for the little baby and the mother. No words of condolences can suffice. I am so sorry.

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S

Posted at 9:21 PM on November 5, 2012  

i would have jumped i would have never just stood and watched. i would risk or lose my life for my child to live. My heart goes out to the parents no one should ever have to watch their child die

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Debra Taczanowsky

Posted at 12:37 PM on November 7, 2012  

That is so easy for you to say. I am happy that you have never had to make a decision that you cannot anticipate unless you were that parent. Try seeing through the perspective of others before you pat yourself on the back.

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Renata

Posted at 9:07 AM on September 17, 2013  

I know my husband would DEFINITELY of jumped over that railing- dangerous or not! Hes said it many times. I was JUST thinking that!

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Barbara

Posted at 8:58 PM on November 5, 2012  

Animals are not meant to be kept in captivity. Poor child.

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Chris McKay

Posted at 8:28 PM on November 5, 2012  

“Horrific crime?” It was an accident, and my heart goes out to these parents, but no “crime” was committed.

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Barb

Posted at 10:33 PM on November 5, 2012  

I agree, it was probably an accident, but what mother allows a 2 year old to sit on the railing over a wild aminal exibit….. personally I see neglect. But I do feel for the family and most of all for the poor child. The child lost his life because someone failed to protect him.

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Jodi

Posted at 11:15 AM on November 6, 2012  

In my opinion, they should throw the stupid mother in the exhibit.

 
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Mel

Posted at 1:26 PM on January 1, 2013  

Putting your child in danger is a crime. Would you stand your 2 year up on a rail, ledge, or building edge and think they can keep their own balance? Better yet would you do it? Be for real. The crime is child endangerment when you are not looking out for the safety of your child. If your child is in your hand or arms, there is no way that this could have happened.

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Nola

Posted at 8:13 PM on November 5, 2012  

It was a tragic accident. “Accident” being the key word in that sentence. My heart goes out to the mother and family of this child. May have been the best decision, but clearly, she wasn’t expecting the child to fall over the rail. I’m quite sure she is suffering dearly and this suffer and blame will take many, many years to overcome. Please remember – it was an “accident”.

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HONESTLY

Posted at 10:28 PM on November 6, 2012  

accident? maybe not, worst things have been done to children!

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taylor

Posted at 6:49 PM on November 5, 2012  

why didn’t jump in after him? regardless of whether or not it was safe,that would have been my first reaction and i’m not even a mother yet. i would’ve sacrificed myself to harm rather than watching my child be mauled to death by wild dogs.

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Hello

Posted at 6:41 PM on November 5, 2012  

This is sooo sad. The mother just wanted to ate her child to the zoo but instead he got mauled. I thought the zoo trained/trains the animals there. may god bless that family.

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calypso

Posted at 8:07 PM on November 5, 2012  

This comment can’t be real, lol..too funny.

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Janice Goff

Posted at 8:45 PM on November 5, 2012  

It’s a zoo, not an amusement park. There are wild animals there, people need to remember this. I feel really sad for the Mother and family but mostly I am very sad for the life that was lost, the potential of a person that will never be fulfilled.

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Melissa

Posted at 5:30 PM on November 5, 2012  

Although I understand that the mother shouldn’t have had the child on the railing, in her denfense she was just trying to take her son to the zoo and show him the animals in that exhibit. She was obviously not trying to cause harm to her son. I can’t even imagine what she is going through now, she is going to have the image of her son falling and dying with her forever. I don’t understand why people have to be so rude and hateful when she probably is blaming herself for the incident already. My prayers go out to the family.

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Joy

Posted at 5:01 PM on January 13, 2014  

Actually, she is blaming the zoo to the tune of $300,000. She should be ashamed, This is totally her fault and now she wants to profit from her sons death. Despicable behavior on her part; and while I have sympathy for the family and my heart breaks for what that little boy suffered, he died due to his mothers poor judgment and she shouldn’t get a dime.

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marcella

Posted at 4:43 PM on November 5, 2012  

I wish people would just SHUT UP. As if the parents aren’t suffering enough. Do you think they don’t already know what they could have done differently. Your equally as horrible a person. My thoughts and prayers go out to this family. Im so glad our God is more forgiving then the terrible people in it.

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rachel s.

Posted at 4:21 PM on November 5, 2012  

I would of gone in after the child, even if he wasn’t mine. 2 years old, the poor baby didn’t even have a chance.

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Gina

Posted at 2:43 PM on November 5, 2012  

The stupid, irresponsible mother should be blamed for the childs death. Tragic and senseless..

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Tyler

Posted at 5:11 PM on November 5, 2012  

Exactly right Gina

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Heaven

Posted at 2:21 AM on November 6, 2012  

Agreed!! Charge the caregivers!! When are parents going to take resposibilities for the kids?

 
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Yolanda Pillow

Posted at 9:48 PM on November 5, 2012  

how dae dare you! you should be ashamed of your self. do you not think this mother has suffered enough. I pray tradgey never come your way. Cause how you are judeging her so shall you be judge. ijs

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Ackxfam

Posted at 2:41 PM on November 5, 2012  

It’s not the ZOO’s fault the parent was irresponsible with her child. If he/she’s too little to see the exhibit, you find another exhibit. I’m sure there are signs everywhere, as with our Zoo, that they don’t want anyone on the barriers/walls/railings.

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Mrs. Taylor

Posted at 7:17 PM on November 5, 2012  

Lord please help that family through this!

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Sharon

Posted at 10:08 AM on November 6, 2012  

Actually there are no signs anywhere. We were there as a family in August which included our 2 yr old grandson. We lifted him to see over the rail. If he got heavy we rested his feet on the top of the rail. It was not neglect unless she stood him there and didn’t hold onto him. It was a horrible accident. Who knows, there is a lot of jostling around a lot of those exhibits. Someone may have hit into her trying to get up to the rail to see causing her to lose grip on the child. This woman will suffer nightmares and guilt for many years. We need to be showing her mercy. It could have been any one of us and any time.

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Debra Taczanowsky

Posted at 12:46 PM on November 7, 2012  

I so agree. As I told my friends, we have all done things that could have resulted in tragedy for those we love. We were luckly. I am tired of those of you who are saying how stupid the mother was. Think back a little and be honest with yourselves; we have all done stupid things.It is always easy to say what we would have done.

I had no idea that the zoo did not have signs to prevent this!

 
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Johanna

Posted at 10:11 PM on November 9, 2012  

I’m sorry but I don’t need a sign to tell me what is and not, the responsible way to handle children at a zoo or any other place for that matter, the zoo did nothing wrong, it was the mother’s tragic irresponsibility that caused this accident, however I think she knows that and will have to live with it for the rest of her life, she will never recover from this, so people should cut her some slack and let this go, we all do stupid things from time to time.

 
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Mel

Posted at 1:30 PM on January 1, 2013  

If the child cant see, you should not be holding them up near any rail, because of just like you said, what if you are bumped or pushed. You better get somewhere that you can see. But hold on to your baby at all times because if a push can break you away from them, that means you are not protecting them.

 
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