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Pittsburgh Zoo giving away wild dogs after child's death

Maddox Derkosh was attacked and killed by African wild dogs after he fell into an exhibit at the Pittsburgh zoo on Sunday.
KDKA

The Pittsburgh Zoo is looking to give away all its African Painted Dogs following the tragic mauling death of a 2-year-old boy several months ago, CBS Pittsburgh affiliate KDKA reports.

An African Painted Dog yawns at the Pittsburgh Zoo and Aquarium in Pittsburgh as he lays in a pile of hay Thursday, March 12, 2009.
An African Painted Dog yawns at the Pittsburgh Zoo and Aquarium in Pittsburgh as he lays in a pile of hay Thursday, March 12, 2009.
AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar

Since Maddox Derkosh fell from an observation deck and into the exhibit, the zoo has moved its 10 wild dogs out of site and knocked down the platform. An 11th dog was shot and killed during the response to the attack.

"We really have been thinking very hard about the future of African Painted Dogs here at our zoo," Dr. Barbara Baker, president of the Pittsburg Zoo and PPG Aquarium told KDKA.

The zoo says the dogs won't be coming back. Four were already sent to other zoos, Baker said, and there have been no violent incidents or abnormal behavior.

"We have decided that we're going to send all of the dogs out this year to other zoos and continue to work on conserving them in the wild and working with our partners in the wild," Baker said. "But we won't exhibit painted dogs here, and give the community and the zoo family and the family a chance to heal."

The Allegheny County District Attorney's office announced Thursday their investigation into the incident revealed no criminal conduct on behalf of anyone associated with the Pittsburgh Zoo.

Investigators say the two-year-old's mother placed him on a wooden railing overlooking the dogs and somehow slipped away, bounced off a small net and fell about 10 feet more into the exhibit. The county medical examiner determined the boy survived the fall but bled to death from the attack, which zoo officials said staff members couldn't stop because it happened so quickly.

Baker says moving on has not been easy. Her staff has undergone professional counseling.

"Especially the people who were directly involved; making sure we take care of them and keep an eye on them, and help them in any way we can," she added.