African painted dogs. Photo Wikipedia
A small boy was mauled to death after falling into an
African wild dog enclosure at the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG
Aquarium, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports.
The newspaper said the child was about 3 years old and was on
an outing with his mother when he fell over a railing and off
a mesh barrier into the area where 11 of the animals - known
as African painted dogs - were on display.
Zoo keepers cleared some of the dogs away and tried to
frighten away others by firing darts at them but were unable
to reach the child until after police shot and killed one
especially aggressive dog, the newspaper said.
The zoo was closed until further notice, it said.
African painted dogs are an endangered species native to
sub-Saharan Africa and their scientific name, Lycaon
pictus, means "painted wolf," according to the National
Geographic website. Also known as Cape hunting dogs, they are
long-legged and have irregularly mottled coats with patches
of red, black, brown, white and yellow fur.
Zoo officials did not immediately return messages seeking
comment, and Pittsburgh police said they had no information.