The Pittsburgh Zoo closed briefly Saturday morning when nine African painted dogs crawled under a fence, said zoo Director Barbara Baker.
The dogs got into a "backup yard" not visible to the public, but were never out of their exhibit. As soon as a keeper realized that the dogs were in another section of their yard, he alerted zoo staff. Zoo officials closed the zoo at about 9:20 a.m. to get the animals back into their regular yard. It re-opened at 10:30 a.m.
Dr. Baker said the zoo went on a "full code red" as a precaution. "What that means is we bring the public into buildings so there is no danger to public."
There were about 200 people on the grounds. "We just walked them into buildings and put the dogs back in main yard."
There are 11 dogs in the exhibit. Nine broke out, crawling through a hole in the fence that separates the 11/2-acre public area from a backup yard that is also about 11/2 acres, Dr. Baker said.
Dr. Baker, a veterinarian, keepers and curators went to the exhibit to move the dogs back. They made the hole in the fence larger, "then we called them and coaxed them with food," said Dr. Baker.
African painted dogs are an endangered species.