The U.S. Department of Agriculture has joined the list of agencies investigating after a 2-year-old boy was mauled to death by the African painted dogs at the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium.
Spokesman Dave Sacks told KDKA-TV in an email that "an agency investigator will take the information already gathered by our inspector and further look into the matter to see if there were any potential violations of the Animal Welfare Act which may have contributed to the incident." The Animal Welfare Act outlines regulations regarding the treatment of animals that are on exhibit.
Mr. Sacks said his agency did not have a timeline for completing the investigation because "each case has its own unique set of variables." If the USDA does find a violation, it will make the results of its investigation public, he said.
Maddox Derkosh of Whitehall died Nov. 4 after he fell into the exhibit. Zoo officials said Maddox's mother hoisted him onto an observation deck railing and he then tumbled 14 feet into the exhibit area containing 11 of the zoo's 14 dogs. They said he bounced twice on protective netting that extends outward from the base of the railing like a shelf before hitting the ground, where the dogs attacked him.
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