African Painted Dogs Maul Toddler At Pittsburgh Zoo

By Amir Khan on November 5, 2012 9:47 AM EST

Painted Dog
African Painted Dogs at the Pittsburgh Zoo mauled and killed a toddler who fell into the exhibit on Sunday, according to the Pittsburgh Police. (Photo: Creative Commons)

African Painted Dogs at the Pittsburgh Zoo mauled and killed a toddler who fell into the exhibit on Sunday, according to the Pittsburgh Police. The African Painted Dogs mauled the toddler, whose exact age or name has not been released, after he fell into the pit after his mother lifted him up to get a better view of the animals.

"Almost immediately after that he lost his balance, fell down off the railing into the pit, and he was immediately attacked by 11 dogs," Lt. Kevin Kraus, with the Pittsburgh police, told the Associated Press. "It was very horrific."

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African painted dogs are between 37 and 80 pounds, and are about the size of a medium domestic dog. They are considered very dangerous.

However, officials are not sure whether the boy died from the fall, which was between 11 and 14 feet, or from the mauling.

Authorities said zoo staff and police responded in minutes, but it was too late to save the boy. Zookeepers called off the dogs, and seven of the 11 immediately went back into the building. Three more were drawn away, but one had to be shot.

The zoo was immediately closed, and there is no word on when it will reopen.

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