10:14 AM EST, November 5, 2012
African painted dogs are the vicious animals responsible for mauling a two-year-old boy to death at the Pittsburgh Zoo.
The boy’s mother placed him on the railing to get a better look. Suddenly, the boy lost his balance, bounced off a mesh barrier and fell 14-feet into the exhibit.
A scene horrific beyond words unfolded. The 34-year-old mother watched helplessly as a pack of dogs, 11 in all, mauled the child to death. Witnesses said, "The screams just kept coming and coming."
Barbara Baker, the President of the Pittsburgh Zoo said, "We had staff within 10 feet of the exhibit who responded and responded appropriately. Sadly, there was nothing they could do."
Zookeepers tried to save the boy, but couldn't reach him in time.
Baker said, "Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family, all of us moms here, dads here."
Matthew Margolis, an animal expert told INSIDE EDITION, "If you fall down, it is almost like a piece of meat to them. They are going to go after it and kill it."
Pittsburgh cops also opened fire and killed the most aggressive dog, but it was too late.
Lt. Kevin Kraus said, "Two police officers arrived, City of Pittsburgh Police officers, and they entered the pit, the exhibit area and shot the dog multiple times."
African wild dogs are also known as painted dogs because of their uniquely colored coats. They're small, but their size is deceiving. Painted dogs were featured in National Geographic’s World's Deadliest. They hunt in packs and have jaws made for crushing bone. The toddler didn't stand a chance.
Margolis said, "They are no different than something in the wild in Africa. They are going to kill him, grab him, maul him, and do what animals do to survive. So, it is no different than going into a den of wolves, the same thing is going to happen."