Just weeks after 2-year-old Maddox Derkosh was buried after being mauled by African Painted Dogs at the Pittsburgh Zoo, the zoo sent out 2013 calendars to supporters featuring pictures of the very animals that killed him. "We wrestled with that one quite a bit," says the zoo president, but since the calendars had already been printed and half of them had already been picked up, the zoo ultimately decided to send out the rest.
In a letter included with the calendars, one of which was sent to the Tribune-Review, the incident was not even mentioned. "Most any public organization would’ve at least explained" why the calendars were still sent, says a PR expert. But the zoo president points out that "African painted dogs are a wonderful endangered species," and in spite of the tragic circumstances, "they are animals that we’re responsible for taking good care of."