The Pittsburgh Zoo was closed down indefinitely today when a two year old boy died after falling into the Painted Dog Exhibit. I have been to the Pittsburgh Zoo many times. The enclosure is in a little valley, according to police between eleven and fourteen feet under the observation deck. Most of the deck is blocked off with either glass or wooden paneling. There is one open area for taking pictures without getting smears from the glass in your picture. The area in question is about five feet wide, there is a four foot railing, a safety net underneath for smaller objects, and the top railing is tilted towards the visitors. This is the place where he fell in at, and I would like to make it known to people that this incident has nothing to do with when the dogs escaped earlier in the year. Witnesses say the boy fell into the enclosure after his mother had put him on the top railing so he could see better. How he fell in from there, the reports aren’t clear, but the dogs unfortunately viewed him as prey. The Pittsburgh Zoo passed safety inspections in September.
I have seen parents place their children on the railings many times. My own sister has been guilty of this. I hope people in zoos across the country think twice before they put their children on top of the railing. The railing is there for your safety, so that tragedies like this can’t occur. Unfortunately, today a child lost his life for something so many people view as inconsequential. Please remember, the next time you take your child to the zoo, that the railings and fences are there for a reason, and you can’t fall over them if you’re not at the top.