A two-year-old boy visiting Pittsburgh zoo was killed yesterday when he fell off a railing that his mother had put him on top of to view a pack of African painted dogs.
It has been reported that the boy fell 3-4 metres into the dog enclosure, and was attacked by the pack.
When the boy fell, zookeepers called off some of the dogs, and seven of them immediately went to a back building. Officials say three more eventually were drawn away from the child, but the last dog was aggressive and police had to shoot the animal.
Associated Press reported how past fatal attacks at zoos have prompted zoos around the US to review the safety features of their exhibits.
In 2007, a tiger jumped over a wall at the San Francisco zoo, killing one visitor and wounding two others. In September this year a man jumped off an elevated viewing train at the Bronx Zoo in New York and was severely mauled by tigers.
Police and the Allegheny County medical examiner's office are currently investigating, and they haven't yet interviewed the mother or father, who are receiving grief counseling.
Barbara Baker, president of the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium, said the zoo, which has never had a visitor death, will also investigate. She said no decision has been made yet on the future of the exhibit.