Pittsburgh Zoo calendar features African painted dogs from fatal mauling

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PITTSBURGH - The Pittsburgh Zoo is featuring the animals that fatally mauled a 2-year-old boy earlier this year on the March page of its 2013 calendar.

Zoo officials said the calendars featuring pictures of African painted dogs had already been printed and made available to patrons before the Nov. 4 death of Maddox Derkosh.

Derkosh died after falling off a railing and into the animals' habitat, where he was attacked.

Zoo president Barbara Baker said the dogs are an endangered species the zoo is responsible for helping protect.

The zoo’s decision was met with mixed reactions by local people Tuesday.

“I think they should have been removed from the calendar because that was an incident that should have never happened,” David Moyer said.

Baker told Channel 11’s news exchange partners at TribLIVE that officials considered scrapping the calendars after the boy's death, but they'd already been on sale beforehand.

“I’m not sure how easy or hard it is for them to take them out, but due to sensitivity, they probably shouldn’t have included them,” Mike Ryabin said.

However, some people, like Cheryl Hajduk, said they understand of the zoo’s position.

“I don’t think they should redo it. It was something they foresaw happening before the calendar came out,” Hajduk said. “I have nothing against the dogs. I think they were just acting in their own natural habitat.”

There is no word if the calendar will be sold in the zoo’s gift shop. The African painted dogs exhibit remains closed.