Feds, police, national group to investigate Pittsburgh zoo
Federal officials, police and the national Association of Zoos and Aquariums will review Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium's procedures because of the fatal mauling of a 2-year-old Pleasant Hills boy on Sunday by a pack of African painted dogs.
“Right now, we're in shock. Obviously, we want to make sure there's a good investigation for the family,” said Steve Feldman, spokesman for the national zoo group based in Silver Spring, Md.
The association, which evaluates zoos on everything from animal care and welfare to conservation, reaccredited the Pittsburgh Zoo for five years in September. The process includes an on-site visit by three inspectors for three days, and safety is one of the issues they examine.
Neither the association nor the zoo would release the accreditation report.
Feldman said the association requests a report of any such incident at a zoo. He said that report will be released after the investigation by law enforcement.
“It's far too early to talk about what outcome might occur after that,” Feldman said.
Zoo officials said the boy apparently slipped from his 34-year-old mother's arms on a 4-foot-tall wall and tumbled off a 14-foot-tall mesh barrier and into the dogs' enclosure.
City police shot and killed one of the 11 dogs that attacked the youngster.
The zoo was closed.
The Department of Agriculture also will investigate. A spokesman did not return requests for comment.
“We are taking appropriate actions in regard to whom we have to alert, and we will be doing that as soon as possible,” zoo spokeswoman Tracy Gray said.
Feldman emphasized the rarity of such attacks.
“Considering that 75 million people visit accredited zoos every year, they have a remarkable safety record,” he said. “This is obviously a terrible, terrible tragedy, but I do want people to know that zoos are safe.”
However, this was not the first fatal accident at the Pittsburgh Zoo. Ten years ago, elephant handler Michael Gatti was crushed to death by an elephant while he was walking it on the grounds.
Bill Zlatos is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7828 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- PennDOT to begin changing Glenbury Street Friday, part of Route 51/ 88 intersection rehab
- In Pittsburgh charges, feds target Uganda-based counterfeiting ring
- Pittsburgh Public Schools adopts no-tax-increase budget for 2015
- Inspections will force Liberty Bridge lane closures on Friday
- Portion of Baum Boulevard closed after bricks fall from building
- Pennsylvania constables need oversight to reduce problems, officials say
- Pittsburgh student jailed after striking school police officer
- Peduto redefines post in just his 1st year as Pittsburgh’s mayor
- Newsmaker: Enrique Mu
- Humane Society draws attention to longest-tenured critters at sleepover
- Investors eager to trade cash for green cards in immigration program