11.09.2012

Zoo Tragedy

So, I'm sure you have all heard about the tragedy at my Pittsburgh Zoo this week...

For those of you who don't know, here are the facts:


**The mother lifted her 2 year old child up to a standing position onto the railing surrounding the observation deck, to get a better view.  The railing in question is the only area where there is not upper protective fencing and is about 15 feet from the ground with a protective safety net below. (see photos below)


**
There is a viewing area for small children under the railing. 

**Almost immediately after being placed on the railing, the child lost his balance and fell, landing on the safety net below.


**The child bounced on the net two times then fell into the enclosure inhabited by the African Painted Dogs.


**Zoo personnel responded within minutes and tried several methods of luring the dogs away from the child.


**Three dogs could not be lured away and mauled the child to death.


**From personal experience, the Pittsburgh Zoo has an abundance of signage throughout the grounds reminding guests to stay off railings,
ledges, rocks, etc... I do not know what sort of signs were on the railing of this particular exhibit.

**This entire incident unfolded in a space of about 5 minutes.


**African Painted Dogs are the most endangered species of dog in the world, with fewer than 5,000 left in the wild.


Here is a photo of the actual viewing platform:



Here is a close up of the area of the railing child fell from:

 

It's Feedback Friday...

Do you think the zoo is at fault for not creating a failproof exhibit?

Should this endangered species of dog be euthanized because of this incident?

Should the mother accept any blame in this case for her actions that day?



21 comments :

  1. 1. Our zoo has similar exhibits. There is plexi glass for little ones to see and I heard that there are signs posted everywhere. I wouldn't find them negligent. However, people are stupid and so they should put plexiglass or netting the entire way up. You can't protect people from stupidity-there are just way too many bridges, canyons, cliffs, balconies etc.
    2. Dogs are completely innocent
    3. It is a awful, tragic accident, but the mother ignored the signs and warnings and now her child is dead. Regardless I bet some court will award her a ton of money.

    The entire tragedy makes me just sick to my stomach.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. When I go to the zoo, it's amazing how many parents ignore the signs and inconvenience others just so their child can see better than others. They will lift them onto railings and fences and rocks, often completely blocking the view for everyone else, just so their child gets the best view. It's crazy!

      Aside from the tragedy, it's just this "entitlement mentality" that I'm trying to be sure my kids don't grow up having!

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    2. I so agree with our society and it's entitlement mentality. Don't blame other people for your mistakes, even if it will help you sleep better at night!

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  2. The dogs are not to blame, they did what comes naturally to them. The mother is stupid. Sorry, you do not do that. Nevertheless I feel terrible for her, it is the worst thing to lose a child because of a mistake on your part.

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    Replies
    1. I know what you mean, I also feel bad but I think to myself - how dumb can you be???

      Think about it, would you place your child in a 2nd story window that was open? It's the same thing to put him on a railing 15 feet up! I kept getting that picture of Michael Jackson dangling his baby off the balcony a few years ago.

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    2. Exactly! I break into a sweat, just picking my daughter up at the zoo to see something "better" And when I pick her up to see something better just note, she is no higher then myself and we are at least 2 feet back from the exhibit.... and yes, I am still nervous.

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  3. What an absolutely horrible tragedy that could have been prevented. The dogs are in no way to blame, they are animals, what do we expect? I agree with what Tara said, the mother is responsible for this, but will probably end up getting $$$ anyway. Our society is so screwed up!

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    1. Thank goodness they just announced a few days ago that the dogs will not be euthanized for this.

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    2. Good, these are wild animals! They are not trained pets!

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  4. this whole thing makes me so sick to my stomach! it isn't anyone's "fault" and the dogs were just acting the way animals sometimes act. It is a tragedy and there is no need to look for blame....against the zoo or the dogs or the mother. SO sad.

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    Replies
    1. Unfortunately, in this age of lawsuits someone will be found at fault.

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  5. This is really awful. I feel awful for that mother, even though she shouldn't have put her baby up there, but why didn't the zoo keepers tranquilize the dogs??? That's what I would be upset about. Can you imagine being that mother while the keepers are just trying to lure the dogs away? You would just want someone to get out a tranquilizer gun and shoot them and for someone to run out to get your child. :(

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    Replies
    1. From what I understand, the zookeepers were shooting at the dogs but there were blanks in the gun. The whole thing happened so fast that tranquilizers weren't loaded.

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  6. how horrible! That mom was totally at fault though. Geeze, if you insist on putting your kid up on the railing at least keep a firm hold on him! I mean really, where was the logic? When did the thought "I'm going to dangle my child above a pit of wild dogs" sound like a good idea? I'm so glad they're not putting the dogs down.

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    Replies
    1. I would hate to be that mom constantly thinking "if only..." but thinking things through ahead of time is a must!

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  7. As bad as it feels to even THINK this I feel it is 100% the mothers fault. Would she have stood on that railing? Doubtful.

    I'm glad the dogs are not going to be put down. They did what their instinct told them to do.

    It is so sad but was entirely preventable.

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    Replies
    1. I think the prevent-ability of this is the saddest part of the whole story, I agree.

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  8. Whole I agree that the mom is at fault for putting her child in danger I think that it is absolutely ridiculous that instead of going in to physically stop the dogs (i. e. pull them off or shoot real bullets or tranquilizers) they instead tried to lure them away. I do think that the way they tried to stop the dogs is 100% the zoos fault.

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    1. It will be interesting to follow the investigation and find out if there were blanks already in the gun or if the staff loaded them on purpose. Also, timeline of where staff was and how long each action took. That whole 5 minutes will have to be accounted for, I would guess.

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  9. Tranquilizers take time to act. It's doubtful they would have prevented the dogs from continuing the attack. Unfortunately, there is no such thing as a fool-proof exhibit. People will always find a way to do something stupid. I'm sure the mother feels horrible, but in this case, she is 100% at fault.

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  10. This is just plain horror. The poor mother, nobody wants to be in that place. But on the other hand, it was her fault. I am relived that the dogs won't be put down. It was not the fault of animals, who are wild. Also I don't believe in fool proof security simply because there is none. Humans are often quite stupid and the only way to prevent this is to get some thoughts and responsibility in them.

    And the thought that she might get money... there should be a stop. I live in germany and honestly: The wide range of obscure security signs and readings you have in the USA (thanks to people who blame their stupidity on some companies, hey... good coffee should be so hot you could burn yourself, it is coffee!) made me wonder more than one time.

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