The Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium has decided to remove the African painted dogs to give the community “time to heal,” according to zoo President Dr. Barbara Baker, following Maddox Derkosh's death last November (“Pittsburgh Zoo will permanently close African painted dogs exhibit,” April 10 and TribLIVE.com).
It took only five months to reach this logical conclusion?
I was disappointed to learn that the zoo's planned Top of the World Project could include painted dogs in the future. Aren't there enough other animals to showcase? In my opinion, the old exhibit was poorly designed and tempted parents to raise their children up to get a better view. The catch fence installed created a false sense of security and was, unfortunately, in place to protect the dogs — not the visitors.
And remember the calendars that went out featuring the dogs? Bad decision after bad decision, both before and after Nov. 4, 2012.
We have heard time and again how this was the first “visitor” fatality at the zoo. Let's not forget trainer Mike Gatti, an elephant keeper at the zoo, was killed just days shy of a decade before Maddox, something that has received virtually no attention since this latest incident.
Something smells funny at the zoo. Maybe the air will be fresher at the Top of the World.