USDA opens investigation into mauling death of boy at Pittsburgh Zoo

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PITTSBURGH - The U.S. Department of Agriculture has officially opened an investigation into the mauling death of a 2-year-old boy at the Pittsburgh Zoo.

Maddox Derkosh was with his mother at the zoo when he fell into the African painted dogs exhibit and was killed earlier this month.

The USDA released this statement on Thursday:

“An agency investigator will take the information already gathered by our inspector and further look into the matter to see if there were any potential violations of the Animal Welfare Act which may have contributed to this incident.”

The USDA told Channel 11 there is no timetable for the investigation.  It added that the findings could lead to fines or result in changes to the exhibit. 

Meantime, Channel 11 has learned about an online petition, calling on the Obama administration to get involved and demand that zoos have more secure cages and enclosures.

The petition needs 25,000 signatures by Dec. 15 in order to get a response from the White House.