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Old 11-05-2012, 04:23 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Toddler Killed by Painted Dogs

I wanted to put this in the Current Events section, but wasn't sure since these were not domesticated dogs...

Zoo: No time to save child mauled by African painted dogs – This Just In - CNN.com Blogs

"It happened in seconds. A 2-year-old boy slipped over a railing, bounced into a safety net, bounced again, and tumbled into an exhibit of African painted dogs, which mauled him to death.

The heartbreaking scenario came to light Monday as the Pittsburgh Zoo released details of the child's death Sunday.

If someone had jumped in to save him, would it have helped? "In my professional opinion, no," zoo President Barbara Baker, a veterinarian, said at a news conference today. "There were 11 dogs in the exhibit."

Although there were zoo officials within feet of the exhibit, and others rushed to the scene, it was too late – it was clear the child was dead, Baker said. "There was no reason to send our staff into harm's way" at that point, she said.

An emergency weapons team and the police arrived. The dogs were moved to another area and are now quarantined. But one dog refused to leave. The police needed to access the scene so, with the zoo's approval, two officers opened fire, killing the remaining dog.

The medical examiner found that the little boy did not die from the fall, Baker said.

Railings throughout the zoo are designed to make it difficult to place children on them, Baker said. They're at a 45-degree angle so that if a child is placed on one and falls, he or she would hopefully fall backward, away from the animal enclosure, she said.

Pittsburgh police say the child was with his 34-year-old mother when he fell from the top of a platform railing and "was immediately attacked by eleven dogs inside the pen."

"Homicide investigators have interviewed several witnesses and zoo personnel, and the investigation is ongoing," police said in a written statement.

Asked whether the zoo takes responsibility for not creating a fail-proof system, Baker responded, "We do everything we possibly can," and "we evaluate it every single day." There is "no such thing as a fail-proof exhibit," she said.

The Association of Zoos and Aquariums will require a report from the zoo, and if it deems necessary, will send an investigative team, Baker said.

All the dogs had physicals in September, which include rabies shots, she said.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture inspected the zoo in September and found no deficiencies, she said. The agency, by law, will return for a follow-up inspection.

Baker did not say whether or how procedures may change as a result of the accident. The zoo has never faced this kind of tragedy, she said.

The zoo will reopen tomorrow, but the African painted dogs exhibit is closed until further notice.

The child has not been identified, and his family has made no public statement."

Am I alone in thinking the zoo is not at fault here?
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Old 11-05-2012, 04:26 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I'm biting my tongue here because this is horrific and vile what happened to this little boy. The zoo has safegaurds in place to protect both the animals and the patrons...as a visitor we must do our part. The zoo is not to blame.
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Old 11-05-2012, 04:27 PM   #3 (permalink)
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From the story my husband read the mother placed the child where he could fall. I'm thinking there is more to the story but a 2 year old wouldn't be able to be up on a rail like that without help. My opinion.
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Old 11-05-2012, 04:30 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Am I alone in thinking the zoo is not at fault here?
No, you are not. That poor baby lost his life because of an idiot adult. When I hear of things like this, it almost makes me wonder if it was intentional. If you were stupid enough to put a child up on the rail, wouldnt you at least have a death grip on him?

God Bless his little soul.

ETA: And as a mother, let me tell you, nothing and no one would have stopped me from getting into the enclosure, I would have gone right over the rail after him.
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Old 11-05-2012, 04:35 PM   #5 (permalink)
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One time, when I was at the zoo (I love the zoo. Always have. I STILL go sometimes.)

The rhino exhibit consists of two fences. Two men had climbed over the outer fence and reached through the inner fence, grabbing the rhino by the horn.

As they held his horn, they called several young children to come "pet the rhino". It is a miracle that neither man lost an arm.

Now, maybe seeing situations like that one has colored my perspective on this situation, but I tend to believe it was caused by people with no caution or respect for the power of nature.

I hope the poor boy died quickly.

...Sad and sick as that is to hope for.
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Old 11-05-2012, 04:37 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I just can't imagine....I'm not even a paranoid person but at a pool or on a public pier I'm the one watching kids out of the corner of my eye ready to grab any little kid I think is too close to the edge. I used to nanny for these four kids and the youngest, a 3 year old, thought she was invincible and would jump off the diving board into the deep end without swimmies on if I didn't catch her fast enough. I used to have nightmares of her drowning and I don't even have kids. I can't imagine putting a kid in danger like that, intentionally ignoring safe guards. I sincerely doubt it was intentional and no punishment now could compare to what she will have to live with the rest of her life.
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Old 11-05-2012, 04:37 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I'm sure the mother will forever blame herself for this without anyone elses assistance, although that certainly won't keep people from blaming her.

In my opinion, enclosures with animals like this should be such that children can not fall in them, regardless of the inability of the parent to recognize that they should not sit the child on the railing. You have to prepare for the poor decision making skills of some individuals and protect them from themselves, and that means building enclosures that children can't fall into. If the child was 5 and climbed the railing, sure we can still blame the parent for allowing it, but ultimately I feel it's the zoo's responsibility to ensure the public and the animals can not come into contact.

Our city zoo is huge, and has animals many zoo's only dream of and breeding programs for said animals. We spend a lot of time there with our 2 yr old and I can not think of a single enclosure with a dangerous animal that would be possible to sit on a railing and fall in. The African Wild Dogs actually have a huge see through enclosure that is so tall you could not even dream of coming into contact with them. The animals with railed enclosures all have moats of some kind on the other side of the rail which can't be accessed by the animal.
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Old 11-05-2012, 04:51 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I'm sure we've all done things that in retrospect were pretty stupid. A very tragic way to learn a lesson. My heart goes out to that mother.
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Old 11-05-2012, 04:52 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rerun View Post
Our city zoo is huge, and has animals many zoo's only dream of and breeding programs for said animals. We spend a lot of time there with our 2 yr old and I can not think of a single enclosure with a dangerous animal that would be possible to sit on a railing and fall in. The African Wild Dogs actually have a huge see through enclosure that is so tall you could not even dream of coming into contact with them. The animals with railed enclosures all have moats of some kind on the other side of the rail which can't be accessed by the animal.
I have to agree with you there. I think our zoo if one of the safest I've ever seen as far how the enclosures are built.
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Old 11-05-2012, 05:31 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Yahoo! Video Detail for Toddler at Pittsburgh Zoo Killed in Painted Dog Exhibit

Am I the only one who is tired of wild captive animals being killed due to human stupidity?
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