A plea to the zoo

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After I had my first child, I bought a membership to the zoo because a trip to the zoo delighted my first-born. I have continued purchasing the membership for three years now. My second child took his first trip to the zoo when he was only a few months old.

My daughter's favorite exhibit is the African painted dogs. She loves watching them chase each other around, wrestle and play in their enclosure. It used to be my favorite exhibit as well.

All of that changed on Nov. 4 when we watched the breaking news ("Boy, 2, Dies in Zoo Mauling," Nov. 5).

My heart breaks for little Maddox Derkosh and his family. I cannot even imagine the pain they have endured. I hope they are able to find peace.

My heart also goes out to all the dedicated employees at the Pittsburgh zoo as I know they are mourning Maddox's loss as well.

A day at the zoo should never turn into a parent's nightmare, but it did. They say things happen for a reason, but I will never understand this.

My plea to the Pittsburgh zoo is that it make the decision to send the dogs away. Send them to another zoo. I will never enjoy the exhibit again. I cannot ever again walk by that exhibit or look at the dogs the same way. All I feel is pain and sadness for the loss of an innocent boy whose life had barely begun.

JULIANNE KNAPP
Plum


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