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Zoo reopens after 2-year-old’s death; wild dog exhibit’s future uncertain

Posted at 4:39 PM, Nov 06, 2012
and last updated 2012-11-06 16:39:15-05

PITTSBURGH, Pa. (KDKA) – The Pittsburgh Zoo reopened Tuesday after a young boy was killed by a pack of wild dogs over the weekend.

"The Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium is now conducting their own internal investigation, but felt it necessary to reopen today to allow visitors the opportunity to pay their respects," Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium's Dr. Barbara Baker said.

On the cold November morning, there were few visitors at the zoo, two days after the mauling death of 2-year-old Maddox Derkosh.

A small memorial of flowers, an angel figurine and teddy bear rest against the gates of the African painted dogs exhibit, which has been  closed until further notice.

"It's the worst nightmare as a zoo professional," Baker said. "All of us are moms here, dads here. We feel so much and our thoughts and prayers are with the family of this little boy."

Some of the zoo's staff placed two wreaths at the front gates of the exhibit leading up to the observation deck where Maddox fell. The boy was attacked instantly by the pack of dogs below.

Late Monday afternoon, zoo officials began their internal investigation on top of a reinspection by the USDA, a detailed report must be given to the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

"They will begin also to look at the incident to see if there was anything that could have been done."

The dogs will not be euthanized and will be quarantined for 30 days.

Additionally, zoo officials said the exhibit's future has not yet been decided.