A 2-year-old boy was mauled to death after he fell into the African painted dog exhibit at the Pittsburgh Zoo & Aquarium, today, reports the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Pittsburgh Police Lt. Kevin Kraus said the boy's mother had placed the child on top of a wooden railing overlooking the enclosure. The child fell off the wooden railing and off of a mesh barrier where the painted dogs were on display.
Lt. Kraus said: "Almost immediately after that he lost his balance, fell down off the railing into the actual pit and he was immediately attacked by 11 dogs."
Lt. Kraus said the zoo first personnel, first on scene, were able to lure seven of the dogs away from the victim. A second set of personnel began throwing objects and using other techniques to secure three more dogs.
The final dog was shot multiple times by two Pittsburgh police officers and died.
African painted dogs are an endangered species.
None of the people who observed the child fall into the enclosure made an attempt to go after him.
One bystander, Angela Cinti, told Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: "One woman with a baby in the stroller was screaming that someone needed to do something. There were three dogs: one at his head, one on the left side of his neck and another one down by his leg. ... A [zoo employee] got there and hopped over a fence with a rake and he was banging ... trying to distract the dogs but they wouldn't move."
The zoo was shut down within a half-hour of the incident and will remain closed indefinitely.