A 2-year-old boy fell into an exhibit of African painted dogs at the Pittsburgh Zoo and Aquarium and was mauled to death, after his mother placed him in a standing position on a wooden railing, police there said.
Pittsburgh police Major Crimes Lt. Kevin Kraus said the boy was attacked by 11 dogs after losing his balance. Minutes later, he was pronounced dead, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported
Witnesses reported a series of screams from the boy’s 34-year-old mother begging for help. After a few terrifying minutes, zoo officials rushed in to chase the dogs away. They said the dogs were acting in a pack mentality and were difficult to herd away form the toddler. According to Kraus, the zoo staff was immediately successful in chasing seven dogs away and misdirected another three by "throwing objects and some other techniques that they use."
The last dog had to be shot and killed.
It is still unclear whether the boy died from the fall into the dog pit or from the attack of the animals, Barbara Baker, the zoo’s president, said at a press conference after the incident.
Officials have not yet released the name of the boy or the mother.
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