Pittsburgh Boy Killed by Dogs, Not Fall

Maddox Derkosh's mother had put him on exhibit railing

By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff

Posted Nov 5, 2012 5:19 PM CST

(Newser) – More details on the tragic death of a toddler at a Pittsburgh zoo: His mother had put the boy, Maddox Derkosh, on an exhibit railing before he fell, and it was the spotted dogs that killed him rather than the fall, reports WPXI Pittsburgh. The update comes from Barbara Baker, president of the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium: "The zoo feels terrible about this tragic accident that happened," she said, fighting back tears at a press conference. "It's your worst nightmare as a zoo professional."

A next-door neighbor of Maddox said she saw his parents, Elizabeth and Jason Derkosh, leaning on each other as they walked through the neighborhood. "As a mom, I can’t imagine this tragedy," she said. "Your heart stops when your kid skins their knee, I can’t imagine what she’s going through." The zoo also revealed details on its response to the dogs' fierce attack, saying one dog was shot to let staff members get near Maddox, and the dogs will stay in quarantine rather than be euthanized, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports.

The overlook platform where a boy fell into the exhibit that was home to a pack of African painted dogs is seen at the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium on Monday, Nov. 5, 2012, in Pittsburgh.
The overlook platform where a boy fell into the exhibit that was home to a pack of African painted dogs is seen at the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium on Monday, Nov. 5, 2012, in Pittsburgh.   (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)
Barbara Baker, CEO and president of the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium, pauses as she answers questions during a news conference on Monday, Nov. 5, 2012, in Pittsburgh.
Barbara Baker, CEO and president of the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium, pauses as she answers questions during a news conference on Monday, Nov. 5, 2012, in Pittsburgh.   (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)
Barbara Baker, CEO and president of the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium pauses as she answers questions during a news conference on Monday, Nov. 5, 2012, in Pittsburgh.
Barbara Baker, CEO and president of the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium pauses as she answers questions during a news conference on Monday, Nov. 5, 2012, in Pittsburgh.   (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)
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