Dogs Maul Toddler to Death at Zoo Exhibit
Boy tumbles into the painted-dog exhibit at Pittsburgh zoo
By Neal Colgrass, Newser Staff
Posted Nov 4, 2012 2:05 PM CST
African painted dogs.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – Awful news from Pittsburgh: Dogs in a zoo exhibit mauled a toddler to death today while staff struggled to save him. On a day trip with his mother, the 2-year-old boy tumbled over a railing at the Pittsburgh Zoo & Aquarium and hit a mesh barrier before falling into the exhibit, says the zoo's president. Staff scrambled to clear away the dogs—and a police officer shot one of them—but four others "were in pack mentality and not responding," according to a zoo press release.

Staff also fired darts to keep the dogs at bay and tried getting into the exhibit, but couldn't rescue the child. His mother hasn't spoken to reporters, and zoo officials haven't offered public condolences, but they did shut down the facility while police investigate. It's not the first incident with the endangered African dogs, either—nine of them broke out of their enclosed section this spring and forced the zoo to shut down entirely, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports.