Monday, November 05, 2012

Don't Dangle Your Kids Over Railings At The Zoo

A two year old boy was mauled to death at the Pittsburgh zoo because his mother let him stand on the railings and accidentally dropped him into a pit of African wild dogs. This story is so heartbreaking and makes me so sad, but I decided to write about it because I just don't understand how parents are so willing to put their children into unnecessary danger. It is no different from when Michael Jackson dangled his child over a hotel room balcony, he just happened to not accidentally drop his child. I don't understand why you put your child in a car seat to keep them safe, but then think it is a great idea to dangle them over wild animals or over a balcony railing. The zookeepers were incredibly fast and made valiant effort, but they could not save the life of the boy. The mother of the boy is currently being medicated for shock.

106 comments:

Jules345 said...

Such a tragic story and yet I have to admit I had the same reaction.

Cathy said...

I'm not sure whether to post outrage over the fact that the mother could be so stupid or sympathy over the fact that she will have to live with this guilt for the rest of her life. Obviously this was her fault, but doesn't the zoo have some responsibility as well? Surely, she wasn't the first moronic parent to ever do this - shouldn't the enclosure have been better enclosed?

FSP said...

The dingo ate her baby. This sucks.

Snapdragon said...

It will be better enclosed in the future, I'm sure. I guess they assumed that most people have common sense, but I guess there's a reason why we have to have warning labels like "Do not iron while sleeping."

Sad. :(

Bon M said...

People like this are why we have to have barriers and glass and be put in a protective bubble.

Not only do you need to watch you kid, but you shouldn't do stupid things like stand them on top of railings. Toddlers and young children are fearless, reckless and a bit clueless and it's up to Mom or Dad to keep them out of danger.

I feel for the mother though. What a horrifying story.

Cheryl said...

Not smart, but sad anyway. The guilt she will suffer is unimaginable. I'm sure they will end up redesigning the railings so this won't happen again.

mikey said...

Spin it anyway you want - it's her fault. The enclosure is fine; I've been to the zoo many times. I believe there are signs everywhere reminding you to not sit or stand of the railings.

Gtzisshe said...

Very sad.
I didn't hear about anyone jumping in. Am I crazy to feel like if that were my kid, I would have jumped in after him?
she is definitely going to live with tremendous guilt forever.

rejectedcarebear said...

I feel terrible for the family and everyone who was there that witnessed this horrific event. I've been to this zoo a lot and this is one of my favorite exhibits, a few months ago the same dogs got loose but were contained pretty fast. A police officer had to kill one of the dogs who wouldn't leave the boy.

This was the first death at the zoo.

mell61 said...

the thing about 'common sense', its just not that common.
We've all seen variation of this, at zoos, during events... people propping kids up so that get the best view, just it went wrong this time.

Rosemary Young said...

Please, no more horrific stories about dead kids! I come to this site for a laugh.

SusanB said...

I used to visit this zoo a lot as a child (in the 1950s). Mom was an idiot but she'll have to live with this the rest of her life. It's a shame.

@rejectedcarebear - do they still have that blue whale kids could walk through and look at fish? I used to love that.

Hazeldazel said...

I guess Darwin was right, and yeah this is why we have idiotic tags on everything.

Vera L- said...

I feel sorry for the mother, because as PP said, she has to live with this for the rest of her life.

katsm0711 said...

I'm pissed the zoo was forced to put down an endangered specie bc of the moms stupidity

Amber said...

@FSP LOL.

Jules345 said...

Nope, I feel the same way. Maybe she was paralyzed with fear, maybe she wasn't physically able to get over?

Lola said...

You can't protect against abject stupidity. I am so sorry for this little boy and those that love him but this woman should be condemned for her decision. Just like a drunk driver doesn't mean to kill someone (and has to live with the guilt) they still suffer the shame and stigma of a monumentally poor decision.

This past summer, some parents were letting their kids climb over the outer fence of the hippo enclosure at our zoo. When reprimanded by keepers to get the kids out of there, they argued that there was another, electrified fence, protecting them.

People are stupid. Unfortunately, sometimes that stupidity is tragic.

MISCH said...

Everyday I am amazed at how stupid people are....poor little guy,

Jules345 said...

@katsm, I feel the same...reminds me of the white tiger story years back in San Francisco...the difference here is that it was an accident, preventable definitely but it wasn't done with malice.

Feisty said...

I think I read they think the fall killed him instantly. In this case, I hope it did. Just awful :(

Layna Day said...

I didn't realize that the mother had allowed the child to stand on the railing. It's a sad story, and I won't judge the mom for it. It just serves as a reminder to be mindful of our surroundings.

Ms Cool said...

She'll probably sue the zoo, too.

Ms Cool said...

^Sorry to be so callous, I am so sorry for that little boy.

feziq said...

Smh. I'm always one to assume the worst.

Jen said...

It was an accident, and people need to stop acting like they're saints who have never done something stupid with their kid before.

I've been to this zoo many times and it's very common for kids to run ahead of their parents and lean over the railing at this exhibit. I understand that she placed him up there, but kids who are taller can easily lean over. Many of my friends on Facebook last night were spooked by how often they've let their kids run up ahead to this exhibit because it's the first thing they see when leaving the food court.

This is a horrible tragedy - an accident - and I'm shocked by the insensitivity spewing from some of you and commenters on other sites. This woman has to live with this pain for the rest of her life. Dear God some of you need to grow a heart.

By the way, Google the Pittsburgh Zoo and you will see that it's one of the most negligible zoos in the country. Animals are constantly dying there. We lose at least 3 animals a year, often for "mysterious" reasons. This zoo shouldn't even be in operation. Clearly they did not have these savage dogs secured well enough from the viewers, because it was only a matter of time before such an accident occurred. You would be surprised by how few glass barriers there are between patrons and the wild animals, who by the way, are only acting on their instincts when I piece of meat falls in their laps.

This is also the second time they've had an issue with this dog exhibit. Please STOP the ridiculous blaming of the mother.

msgirl said...

She's not even holding onto him in that picture. Ugh. Awful.

Agent**It said...

14 FT fall. RIP, little one. Mom will bear this burden until she dies, I pray for her as well.

Vera L- said...

msgirl, that's not a picture

Audrey said...

@ Katsm0 - 100% Agree.

Rangeman Manoso said...

Sad. It seems kinda self explanatory, dangerous animals below and all that. Are we at a point in society that we need signs that specifically say "Don't dangle your child over hungry wild animals?" Good grief.

nancer said...

please stop blaming the mother??? SHE put her 2 year old up there. he didn't climb up there. toddlers wiggle. stupid thing to do and just because it's tragic and she has to live with it doesn't make what she did any less stupid.

if people are letting their kids run wild at the zoo, they need to stop it. if you can't control your child, don't take them to the zoo where there are wild animals, for godsake.

Ashlea said...

Amen.

The Black Cat said...

Jen you need to STFU, an innocent child died because his mother was negligent, end of story. It really pains me when I see negligent parents because they are too dumb to realize the consequences of their selfish actions at being inattentive to their children. Some people really need a license before they breed and clearly this awful woman is one of them, too bad she is alive. I don't think this woman will give a second thought to what she has done, she wouldn't have put her child in harms way like that if she had any sense. This woman would allowed this to happen no matter if they were in a zoo or a shopping center so stop bashing the zoo.

hothotheat said...

@ Katsm0 - ITA. Stupid mother is to blame here but she will most likely try to sue the zoo.

CarmeliteLady said...

She's being medicated for shock because it's her fault and she knows it. Since the dawn of life it's the mother's complete responsibility to preserve the life of her child. No matter how old your child is and under what circumstances you would always wonder if it's your fault. In this case it really was her fault. If she let him play in traffic would it not be her fault? If she put him up on a railing above a bunch of predatory animals is that her fault he died? Absofuckinglutely. Its not the Zoos fault that she put him up on a railing. Your child is constantly in danger, of being abducted, run over, molested, murdered, mauled whatever, that's why Mom's are soooo neurotic because everywhere you look there is danger for your child. A curling iron, a wall outlet, a big dog, the list goes on and on. It was an accident, but it was preventable. I feel for how much pain she will always go through and what this will do to her life, but this is life, this is real, we are not in a movie theater, or video game, there are real consequences to stupidity and not paying attention. It is her fault.

Hollyweird said...

Just like the parents of the stupid criminal drunk and stoned teenagers who taunted a tiger and got mauled.

Jules345 said...

@jen...it would be heartless if I were to express my opinion to the mother or try to contact her in some way. Expressing my opinion on a message board means nothing...who cares what I think. Bottom line is that I would never let my kid do that...and I have been a parent for 17 years now so yeah, I am pretty positive about this...doesn't matter how negligent the zoo is, it is the parents responsibility to not put the child into harms way.

curlyhairslacker said...

@katsm-agree. I hate it when animals are put down for acting instinctively. :\

Hollyweird said...

@carmelitelady ITA! Reports are saying she placed him up there and backed away. He immediately lost his balance and fell. RiP little guy.

lakeuniongirl said...

So what's the full story...did she actually dangle the child? Did she let him climb up one rung and he boosted himself over? Not gonna judge until I hear the whole thing. Sad story. How about a "kindness" now?

Patty Mayonnaise said...

Leave Michael Jackson out of this Enty. Restvin peace to the poor boy. I pray he left this world as he hit the ground didn't feel the pain as the wild dogs gnawed at his flesh. His mother should be investigated and charged with neglect. She is being treated for shock to buy time for a good alibi to give the cops.

Hollyweird said...

@Jen this is the first fatal accident in the history of the zoo. And that dog exhibit issue you mention? The dogs got loose in a second enclosed exhibit that was unused. Nobody was in danger but patrons were ushered away for an hour anyway and no one was hurt. Hardly an issue.

Layna Day said...

I don't think the mother dangled him over the railing so much as he was STANDING on the railing and fell off. It's a matter of semantics, since the baby is gone either way.

Telling someone to STFU or wishing the mother dead doesn't bring the child back.

lostathome said...

I'm sorry but I literally lol'ed

Miz said...

Oh lordi, that's horrifying and so damn sad. It sounds horrible but I do hope the baby died from the fall, seems kinder. I made fun of my friend for putting a leash on her 2 year old (its actually a sweet thing, looks like he's always cuddling a bear) but that makes me rethink it. Kids don't know fear, not really, at that age.

gloaming said...

@Hollywierd. Thanks for the info. That's what I couldn't understand. It's one thing putting him there, it's another thing letting go of him.

katsm0711 said...

I wonder if she was trying to take a picture

lostathome said...

They will probably play the victim card with her. Accident or not, she should be charged with manslaughter.

What kind of rational person puts their child, alone, on top of a railing in front of a group of carnivorous animals? Who does that?

People like that are the reason these animals have to be so barricaded. Ridiculous.

Use common sense. How hard is that? I'm sorry the boy died, but really I can't get over how moronic this is.

You wouldn't put your child on the ledge of a tall building, why put him on the railing of a wild animal exibit? Either way he could fall and die.

rejectedcarebear said...

This is not the PGH Zoos fault. Its not the African painted dogs fault (an endangered animal, infant mortality rate is 50%, 10 pups were born and only 5 survived at the zoo). The Zoo is safe and was recently reaccredited, passed all safety inspections. There was another incident with these dogs but no one was even in danger. They escaped into another part of their enclosure, they were still totally seperate from any zoo guest.

The mother made a terrible and fatal mistake. May that boy rest in peace.

katsm0711 said...

Exactly @lost! Forget the wild animals, she put her too young to have good coordination baby on a 14 foot ledge which I wouldn't stand on myself!
This is really horrible to read after watching a certain cable show on AMC last night

Amy said...

What's strange (and not in that virtual reality re-creation) is that there's a wire mesh barrier below and several feet in front of the railing he was standing on. It's very odd that he didn't fall to the ground on the OUTSIDE of the pit, but instead onto the wire mesh, and then (presumably flipped head-first) into the pit. (But this does explain in large part why no adult immediately jumped after him -- it's just so difficult for the two barriers to have been breached in the first place.)

urban chaos said...

She has to live with this for the rest of her life and I don't think the guilt would be something I could bear.
What a horrible (and preventable) tragedy..

Audrey said...

It was a stupid, stupid, stupid act on the account of the mother. But she should NOT be charged with manslaughter. What would come of that? She will already be punished every single day in her life moving forward. Tax money and resources should not be used to charge this woman with anything.

rhinovodka said...

such a sad story. I am not sure what the mother was thinking. I just hope he died from the fall.

Dee Lurker said...

ITA Jen. Crazy shit happens including people having brain farts. This is very sad, blame is useless.

Frufra said...

First, as a mother, my heart breaks for this woman. I have unfortunately known people who have been involved in their children's death via negligence, and they are haunted for the rest of their lives.

Secondly, my honest initial reaction to this story is to be thankful that something like is didn't happen to me or my siblings. We have a father who found it very humorous to dangle a scared child over the edge of a mountain or precipice. Just because you can physically reproduce doesn't mean you have any parenting skills.

Of course, I have no personal insight into this particular woman's parenting skills, but this hits close to home for me.

Layna Day said...

We put ourselves and others in harm's way all the time, without malice or bad intent. It's crazy, but we do it without thinking. And we all have been guilty of that.

It's awful this had to happen to remind of us of such.

auntliddy said...

So so so frigging stupid. Idiot! Right now, only feel distain for her

Krab said...

She's a moron. She probably thought the nice little doggies below wouldn't hurt her kid.

I constantly see idiot parents take all kinds of stupid risks with their kids--letting toddlers have lollipops, letting them ride without seatbelts or carseats, letting little kids swim where there's a terrible undertow--people are freaking morons.

goes in circles said...

It is tragic. Poor baby.
As the mother of a 2 year old boy I am a little distsainful of her myself.
You guys nailed it. Would I stand my son in the open window on the 2nd floor of my house?
Fuck no, that's negligent.

Worstcompanytoworkfor said...

Not sure why the zoo doesn't have this enclosed.

jw11 said...

@Jen--I live here in PGH and the zoo has an excellent reputation. I have no idea what you are talking about. I am also a parent and sweat bullets if my seven year old even stands on the ledge to look closer at exhibits, not because the PGH zoo is neglectful, but because Im a MOTHER.
Who knows what really happened. Maybe she sneezed, maybe she slipped. But, its a tragedy. There has been talk of shutting down the painted dogs altogether.

JSierra said...

Some people need to Bing ( die, Google die!) "wild animals" and "zoo".

Also check out "parental responsibilities" while you are there.

JSierra said...
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VeeBee said...

I just kept thinking how horrific it would be to see your child ripped apart before your very eyes. I don't know if I could live with the guilt, with those images burnt into my brain, haunting me.

VeeBee said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mango said...

How utterly tragic. And preventable.

Baka Neko said...

It's the woman's fault but she did not deserve what happened. No one deserves that. It's bad enough to lose a child but to see it as well.

Ingrid Superstar said...

This is terrible, but I totally LOLed at msgirl's comment. It looks like they used that Taiwanese Animation company in the pic.

Sandbox720 said...

I'm amazed that she didnt jump in after the child...that's what my mother would have done.

LottaColada said...

Exactly how I feel.

Call me yndy... said...

Geez @JSierra! I'd remind you about spoilers since that's still sitting on my DVR waiting for us to watch it tonight and I didn't expect that one to be in the "child dies at zoo" thread... If it were any other show, as we all know anyone is fair game in TWD. But dude, @kats didn't spoil for a reason.

My heart goes out to the mother, as a mother. But this is in no way the zoo's fault or the painted dogs' fault. The reason "common sense" is so often lacking is that it's a survival trait and we've managed to label, rope-off, fence, and litigate-to-the-point-of-absurdity anything which might actually weed out humans who don't have it and won't pass it on to their offspring. It's not really the woman's fault - society started "protecting" us against common sense years and years ago.

Either way, what a sad and tragic death. May he rest in peace and may she find whatever peace she can.

Sherry said...

A senseless tragedy that could very well have been avoided.Like that video with the people in the park taking pictures of the wild animal and then being chased, people never consider the worst. She thought "dogs" and forgot "wild". Hell yeah she'll live with it for the rest of her life.

chopchop said...

FUCK!!! Who'da thunk Walking Dead spoilers would be in here??? I know, I know ... my fault for interneting before watching a TV show but, damn!

JSierra said...
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JSierra said...

No need to attack guys, it was an honest mistake.

Sandy said...

The mother is "being medicated for shock?" How about "arrested for child endangerment and involuntary manslaughter?" She let her kid fall into a wild dog pen!

The worst part is, when she walks she can have OTHER CHILDREN to put into jeopardy and/or let die. Disgusting. To paraphrase Keanu Reeves' line in "Parenthood," you need to have a license to drive, to catch a fish, hell, even to have a dog, but they'll let any a-hole be a parent.

hotchacha said...

Oh man. Beyond terrible. That poor woman. And that poor father too.

Heartsick.

mngddess said...

I would have jumped in immediately. I'm sorry, but she shouldn't have put her child in danger. May that poor child rest in peace.

Wil said...

I am I wrong Moms .. or would you not have jumped in after the baby? First, I would hope I would ever be so careless as to do such a thing. But, if I had done and this was the result, I pray I would do my best to get in there and shield my baby even if I died as a result.

I feel terrible for this woman .. and I am not trying to say she is a bad person. I am just of the thought that if I was ever so blessed, I would do everything in my power to put my child's life before mine.

On a related, and very likely ill timed note, what the hell is with the Sims-esque simulation? Are we no longer imaginative enough to imagine this horror by ourselves, ABC?

mannyv said...

It was also bad luck. I read a report that he fell and got stuck in the netting - then fell through it somehow. I'm sure they design their nets for adults.

Tuxedo Cat said...

@FSP "The dingo ate her baby" Are you for real? How can someone make a joke about a child dying?

Jessi said...

People do these types of things on a regular basis without thinking. I used to live in Jackson, WY and you wouldn't BELIEVE some of the insane things we saw parents do!

I witnessed one man chasing a juvenile grizzly bear(still a good 5-6 ft tall) through the forest with his 2 year old in tow trying to get a picture. When I screamed at him and begged him to stop, he yelled that he could do what he wanted.

We had another family decide to put their 2 year old little girl on the back of a buffalo to take a picture. The flash went off and the buffalo startled and stomped the little girl. Thankfully she lived. The parents were hysterical as they couldn't understand what had happened and were blaming the locals for letting such a dangerous animal be about.

This is a national forest area with wild animals everywhere. People acted like they thought it was a petting zoo. It was very scary to witness the stupidity of these individuals.

ljsmed said...

Mannyv, I read a report last evening that the mesh net is actually designed for people who drop their cell phone, cameras, etc. it is not built to support humans.

jw11 said...

I have seen more now about the incident. The child bounced in the netting and into the pit.
Jack Hanna spoke with KDKA in PGH and he stated that it happened too fast for anyone to jump in. He said the dogs are extremely territorial and predatory.
The child did not die from the fall. I know that is horrible.

Google Jack Hanna PGH zoo to listen.

katsm0711 said...

I just saw the GMA clip on Yahoo about this and it might be what @jw saw bc Jack Hanna was on it. Well, here it is if you want to hear more info.

Child Mauled to Death by Dogs at Pittsburgh Zoo

And if you don't know how to insert links, I bookmarked this page and I cut and paste the formula.

Link Title Here

I left "link title here" as on the original so it might be easier to understand

lisa said...

I can't begin to imagine what horror this mother had to watch and what she'll live with forever. She'll see that child being eaten every moment of every day forever. Stupid, stupid, stupid.

BobNYC said...

The mother needs to be tried for involuntary manslaughter and child endangerment. Then she needs to be forced to have hysterectomy. No way should this idiot breeder be allowed to be anywhere near another child.

katsm0711 said...

@bob all that and, I wish, but I doubt she can get charged for killing an endangered species

jax said...

I feel like there is more to this story that will come out.

Also, google image the viewing area.
It is ONLY ELEVEN FEET. I would have jumped in screaming bloody murder and lost a fkn limb fighting for my child....like most mothers.


She didn't. This isn't adding up and it's not just a fight or flight reflex.

jax said...

this little boy's name was Maddox :(

Bikey said...

I refuse to know more details about what actually happened because this is horrible enough as it is, but I hope that poor little angel didn´t suffer much...
Rest in peace now:(

tamarind said...

all it takes is a split second...i'm on frufa train, just b/c you procreate you don't necess. know how to raise em.

misspoppypants said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
misspoppypants said...

pardon my iphone typos!

goheels83 said...

Omg FSP. I laughed too. You (we) are awful!

In my opinion, this is horrible parenting. You don't fuck around with wild animals, even if they are in a zoo. :(

Agent**It said...

For clarification:
He bounced out of netting below the railing before dropping more than 10 feet into the dogs' enclosure, and the fall is n ot what killed him, per police report.

kchristene said...

I don't have kids of my own, but I feel sick to my stomach when I see parents doing anything remotely close to this (for example sitting on the boardwalk and letting their toddler sit next to them on the edge, 10 feet above the water, without holding onto them). It's all I can do not to run over and grab them myself!

Tuxedo Cat said...

@goheels83 Yeah, hilarious. Really hilarious.

Tuxedo Cat said...

Sorry everyone I think I'll retire from this kind of thread. I have three children and when people joke about things like this it hits very close to home.

Again, I wasn't trying to spoil anyone's time...

Geebz said...

She's an idiot. A moron and a monster. I'm judging. fuck her. She killed her son by being stupid.

Compassion is fine but this is plain and stupid. I grow weary of hearing of these parents that do things like this. I just turned my back for a moment.

I was in a store and a woman left her 2 y.o. daughter in the shopping cart while she went inside of the lady's room. No one there to watch her daughter. No way to hear if she were taken. I called Customer Service and the broad was dropping a deuce. She was in there for 15 minutes. I waited so that I could tell her she was a moron. I'm sick of hearing stories like this.

Kids take work, care and sacrifice. You can't just leave them so you can do "whatever". You can't put them on a ledge because they want to see. Fuck her.

misspeg86 said...

@FSP Shouldn't have chuckled but totally did. My excuse is that I'm an Aussie teehee

misspeg86 said...

Is that picture above an accurate depiction of the actual barrier? If so, not very safe. And if the mother really did let go of her child after she propped him up there, that is really bad! Where were her natural instincts as a mother?! Surely you would only do that if there was nothing more than a bunch of cute looking ducks underneath! Anyways, I do feel sorry for her. It was probably a big lapse in judgement.

YourNameHere said...

It's sad that the first thing I thought of was "I bet the mother sues the zoo". When long ago and far away I would be sad for the child first. So sad...

Lelaina Pierce said...

@Geebz, I am curious to how that mother reacted?? I applaud you for having the balls to do that.

So, did she put him on the ledge (stupid) and lose her grip on him? From the pictures I've seen, it doesn't make sense that she'd put him on the railing and walk away. Ugh.

People can say what they want about the zoo taking more precautions but that won't stop people from being stupid. Has anyone ever seen that YouTube video where the parents are at some park and ENCOURAGING their kids to go up to this huge buffalo, who ends up charging them? One of them could EASILY have died and the father is taping it w/ his cell phone and LAUGHING. Never underestimate someone's stupidity.