A young boy visiting the Pittsburgh zoo with his mother and friends was killed Sunday when he fell about 14 feet off a deck into an exhibit that's home to a pack of African painted dogs, who pounced on the boy and mauled him, zoo officials said.
It's not clear whether he died from the fall or the attack, said Tracy Gray of the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium.
When the boy fell, other visitors immediately told staff members, who responded along with Pittsburgh police. Zookeepers called off the dogs, and seven of them immediately went to a back building. Three more eventually were drawn away from the boy, but the last dog wouldn't come into the building, and police had to shoot him, Baker said.
"It's clear that the dogs did attack the child, but whether he died of the attack or the fall has yet to be determined," Baker said.
The dogs are about as big as medium-sized domestic dogs, 2 to 2 1/2 feet high and 37 to 80 pounds, according to the zoo. African wild dogs are also known as cape hunting dogs, spotted dogs, and painted wolves. They have large, rounded ears and dark brown circles around their eyes and are considered endangered.
Police and the Allegheny County medical examiner's office were investigating. Baker said the zoo, which has never had a visitor death, plans an internal investigation.
In May, some of the dogs escaped into a part of the exhibit that's usually closed. The zoo was on lockdown for about an hour as a precaution.
Associated Press writer Ron Todt in Philadelphia contributed to this report.
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The holiday weekend is looking warmer and unsettled. Shower and thunderstorm chances increase late Sunday and Labor Day.
Temperatures will warm headed into Labor Day. Saturday is the pick day of the holiday weekend with dry conditions and highs in the low 80s.
It turns hot and humid by Sunday with sct. shower and thunderstorm chances increasing N&W anytime after 2/3PM. It should remain dry down the shore all day Saturday and most if not all of Sunday.
Saturday (82/62): Sun/Clouds
Sunday (89/70): Clouds/Storm
Monday (90/74): Clouds/Storm
Police release surveillance video of a man being shot and robbed of $70,000 in the parking lot of a supermarket in Northeast Philadelphia.
Authorities say a teenager drowned while reportedly trying to retrieve a soccer ball from a recreational reservoir in southeastern Pennsylvania.
A woman has died after being hit by three cars in Philadelphia's Logan section. Police say two of the vehicles drove off, and they're still searching for one of them.
We want to say congratulations this morning to Broomall-Newtown Baseball, which now has two Babe Ruth World Series winners in one year!
A huge data breach is affecting five major banks. Federal officials say they were hacked by cyber terrorists. What exactly happened? And can we protect ourselves or prevent it?