Home Pop Culture 2 year old boy mauled by African wild painted dogs as mother...

2 year old boy mauled by African wild painted dogs as mother dangled him over railings at Pittsburgh Zoo.

African painted dog
The Pittsburgh Zoo and Aquarium has housed a pack of 11 African Painted dogs, one of which is seen here in 2009, for several years
African wild dog
The Pittsburgh Zoo and Aquarium has housed a pack of 11 African Painted dogs, one of which is seen here in 2009, for several years

Maddox Derkosh: Identity of two year old boy mauled by wild African painted dogs released.

It is being reported that a 2 year old boy was mauled to death by a pack of African wild dogs after he slipped in his mother’s hands who had been dangling the boy over railings at the pen at Pittsburgh zoo.

Despite desperate attempts by zoo keepers and armed police to keep the dogs at bay who by at this stage had formed into a pack the boy was mauled to death as he continued to scream and cry as the dogs ravenously began to literally eat him alive.

Zookepers are said to have fired darts whilst police officers opened fire at the dogs preying on the child, which led to the killing of one of the eleven dogs hurling themselves on the two year old. It is understood the landing of the pen from which the boy fell into was an eleven foot high drop which may or may not have manifested the boy experiencing traumatic wounds when he fell.

At the time off the attack which is said to have occurred circa late Sunday morning, authorities were able to drive off 7 of the eleven dogs, which are slightly smaller that Labrador retrievers but the others could not be stopped. Repeated poundings on the fence and shouting at the animals as well as the use of air darts and even police firing at one particularly aggressive dog did little to assuage the situation.

Pittsburgh-Post Gazette: Pittsburgh police Major Crimes Lt. Kevin  Kraus said none of the people who observed the child fall into the enclosure made an attempt to go after him. The news release from zoo officials noted that keepers attempted to enter the yard but were unable to reach the child.

One ineffective technique used by zoo personnel to lure the animals away from the child was to fire “dummy tranquilizer rounds,” Lt. Kraus said.

Information released from the zoo indicated that “unfortunately, the dogs were in pack mentality and not responding.”

The child was pronounced dead at the scene 12 p.m.

It is understood that the boy’s father arrived soon after the accident and both parents are currently being medicated to deal with the shock.

Reaction to the incident has been contentious and passionate with some commentators feeling the zoo  bears no fault for the incident and that the fault should lie squarely with the mother. Once again the incident puts into focus the repercussions of human contact with animals in an environment where perhaps there ought to be no contact bearing in mind that at the end of the day these animals are animals from the wild who are preternaturally wired to act with deadly force and aggression without the slightest provocation.

African painted dogs are known to be an endangered species. Zoo President and Chief Executive Officer Barbara Baker has chosen at this time to have the zoo indefinitely closed.

It is also understood that in May of this year some of the dogs crawled under a fence and escaped into a part of the exhibit that’s usually closed. The animals were lured back in with food and no one was hurt. The escape has led to some questioning whether the dog exhibit was appropriate to maintain in the first place.

Below are a smattering of comments appearing in the media that have caught my attention and made me wonder:

via Pittsburgh-Post Gazette and dailymail.co.uk

That Mother does not deserve any medication to help her to get through this horrible tragedy. She is responsible for this child’s death. Zoos have railings for a reason to prevent people from falling into areas where dangerous animals reside. She needs to feel the same pain she put that poor child through UNMEDICATED. Her poor little boy was dropped to a horrible death unmedicated. I have sympathy for the boy and the father, but the Mother caused this so none is going out for her!


That poor child, and his poor, poor mother. I can think of nothing more horrific than watching your child being mauled to death by a pack of wild dogs. That memory will haunt her every day for the rest of her life, and how her husband will feel when he finds out that the mother sat the boy on the railing will be anybodies guess. Yes, she made a mistake, but my goodness she will pay for that mistake for her entire life. Poor family and what a tragic situation. 


The police killed the dog for protecting its territory, while a human mother is allowed to go free after she delibrately exposed her child to danger that cost the child his life. Charge her with 2 counts of murder one for the dog and one for the child now.   


I would shoot every single wild dog left on the planet if would would have saved the child. It always amazes me when people value an animal over a human life. Way to have your priorities straight.   

Then you die trying. I would rather be mauled by 100 dogs than live like a coward. That mother is a degenerate piece of filth who at that very moment decided that her life was more valuable than the life of her baby. 

I’ve been to this zoo several times. It isn’t like a waist high fence you can just sit your kid on. The fence is roughly 6′. It blows my mind she thought this was a good idea.


It’s hard to believe that there are people who value the life of a viscious primitive wild animal over the life of a human child. And people so cowardly and selfish they won’t take any risk themselves to save someone else.


No, actually that is exactly how it (Darwinian evolution) works. Her stupidity now means her genes are not passed on to a new generation.


Zoos are animal slums, they are disgusting and shouldn’t exist.


I live in the Pittsburgh area and frequent this zoo all of the time. This was nothing but pure negligence on the part of the parent. NO, absolutely NO adult should be placing a child in potential harm’s way as she did. Yes, I feel for her, and I am sure she did not take her child to the zoo yesterday and purposely plan any of this to happen. However, that does not negate her responsibility as the adult, his mother, to keep him safe. It’s a zoo, for pete’s sake, full of wild animals. There is NO WAY to fault the zoo or these dogs for what happened. They acted on instinct. Too bad Mom did not!


Okay- so I was there today. First off, the zoo was JUST inspected and up to all safety codes two months ago. Second, this exhibit has high railings that aren’t really climbable, and only ONE open area in front of this railing. Under it, there is a net so the dogs cannot jump up. All the signs tell you the nature of the dogs. What moron would think it was smart to lift their child up onto that ledge? Two possible scenarios- the child got away, and somehow had enough time to climb it, and NO ONE saw him do it. The zoo was packed today, because there was a kidney foundation event there. Ergo, no one was watching him if so. Scenario two- said parent lifted him up to see better, and let him sit on the edge/held him on shoulders (that’s unlikely due to the ceiling height) and then he fell over. Judgement error. No, total lack of ANY judgement. The zoo should not be at fault for this. There are other events you can touch, but have signs EVERYWHERE (take the sea lions- one side is open to where if you really TRIED you could touch THEM, but there are signs that say don’t- they bite.) Just like this exhibit informed you they are WILD ANIMALS AND ARE HUNTERS.


This whole story sickens me! First it is very tragic that the this accident even happened in the first place but it totally could have been avoided. The mother put him on the railing so IMO it is completely and 100% her FAULT! How can you call yourself a parent and be so careless with your child around wild animals? She should be arrested! I live in the area. They have it on the news and are trying to blame everyone but the obvious. Some man got on a news conference and was acting mortified that NO ONE stepped in to help. It was an 11 foot drop from what they reported. So some innocent bystander is supposed to jump 11 feet into a pit with wild animals attacking while his mother stood by and did NOTHING?? You would think by instinct she would have jumped in to save her child but she didn’t. Never can we blame the parent so then I was waiting for it to be the dogs fault. I wondered if they’d shoot all the dogs but then they made one a sacrificial lamb and shot it.




  1. I wanted an accurate idea of the severity such circumstances would have on the human psyche and emotions, as though taking the minutes experienced as an onlooker getting traumatized by the extreme brutality of cruel nature.. people just can’t grasp the complete comprehension of someone else’s terror and pain.

    For those who want to actually feel connected to the death, try joining these two videos together http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=5b9_1419897068&use_old_player=0 @ 54 seconds ANNND https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=voxRqDSPHRc then watch as the dogs are eating their prize alive, and can you really understand what happened at this zoo.

    And you sit there and you judge the mother and father, like it’s some details of a good book. Sickening. Maybe you should fall into such an enclosure, or perhaps the zoo owner should face twelve hungry painted dogs and see what kind of responses you expect. Such sickening people you are no different than isis, terrorists//evil humans.

  2. People need to stop being so critical. I’m sure the mother is a complete wreck that her baby was killed a very tragic death. Sometimes people do NOT think and many people has done this for their children to see the animals.

  3. I do feel the mother is responsible but why rub it in..I think it was the idea that nothing bad would happen. That’s the problem, thinking you have total control. These are wild dogs and they reacted as wild dogs. It is a sad situation but I do not feel the zoo is responsible.

  4. Uhm, you are a fuckinng idiot, It dosent matter what kind of area thy SHOULD’VE been in, what matters is that the mother was so empty minded that she set her child oh a fucking rail..above wild animals..11 feet high.
    Don’t be so stupid.

  5. I completely agree that the mother was at fault in this situation. First, why would you let your child sit on the railing, second, why would you let go of him, third, why wouldn’t you go in after him the minute he fell. She should be ashamed of herself as a parent and should be held accountable for her child’s death. My heart goes out to the little boy and the fear and pain he felt in the last minutes of his life. Horrible…. It is sad to think that she is actually probably going to try to sue the Zoo for negligence when she is 100% responsible.

  6. I dont understand how can ppl blame the dogs, those are wild animals and dont know better. Only thing they get thru that railing is food so if somebody throws them a child is food in their eyes. The mom should spend the rest of her life in prison. It was her responsability to watch the child

  7. OMG the zoo should have never had such an exhibit..tHey are totally at fault…..there should have been a totallly enclosed viewing area…….this is ridiculoous…don’t you DARE blame that mother!!it shoulD have never happened….

  8. I saw a video on YouTube of a much smaller pack (five dogs, I believe) hunting and taking down an impala. It was 26 seconds between them catching the impala and ripping it in half – literally in two pieces! How much softer is a toddler… No one could have gotten in there fast enough to save the child.

  9. she will probably sue the zoo, and probably win. The animals are not at fault here and now because of her actions there is one less endangered dog. 7 billion people on the planet and growing…

  10. Oh my God I cant believe any mother in her right mind would put her child in such danger. I really think this woman must have been under the influence of some kind of drug or somthing. How dare you whom ever you are sadate her let her feel the pain she needs to be held accountable for her stupidity. God Bless little Maddox.

  11. unreal, this women would lift her child over the 6ft railing, why would she do that, even if there were not wild animals the fall alone…..what the crap was she thinking? The zoo is not at fault when someone breaks the rules….period

  12. she due to ignorance dangled her 2 year old child over the safety railing, he slipped through her arms onto the net than bounced off that net 10 or 11 feet below bouncing twice on the hard ground, only to be tortured to death by 11 wild painted dogs who chewed him alive as he screamed and cried in agony, she didn’t do a thing to help him, she didn’t jump and save him, she watched as he was screaming and crying for her in agony…..34 years old and to be stupid enough to dangle your child over a wild dog cage to ignore the safety rail. yes she should be put through everything that child went through without medication . she killed her child, she ignored the safety features. she should be charged with murder, either negligent homicide or murder (she ignored those safety features, dangled her kid over that railing than dropped him) don’t let her breed again only to kill another kid because of her stupidity. my pity lies with the child and the father who lost him. not with the darwin award mom .

  13. This women is 100% responsible for her 2yr old childs death PERIOD! This tragedy should put every other parent out there on notice! I’m sorry but she should be charged!! Sickening

Comments are closed.