Boy Killed At Zoo Mourned In Pennsylvania As Thousands Donate Trucks In Honor Of Maddox Derkosh

Wild African Painted Dogs
Tributes poured in Friday for Maddox Derkosh, the 2-year-old Pennsylvania boy who was killed by African painted dogs at a Pittsburgh zoo, as family, friends and community members mourned the boy. Reuters

Tributes poured in Friday for Maddox Derkosh, the 2-year-old Pennsylvania boy who was killed by African painted dogs at a Pittsburgh zoo, as family, friends and community members mourned the boy.

Little Maddox died Sunday at the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium when he fell into the African painted dogs exhibit and mauled by the animals after his mother tried to give him a better view of the exhibition.

Allegheny County district attorney’s office spokesman Mike Manko said Maddox’s death appears to be an accident and no criminal charges are expected to be filed in the mauling, the Associated Press reported.

However, the platform that Maddox fell from may undergo modifications, Manko said.

At Maddox’s burial mass, held at St. Bernard Church in Mount Lebanon, Pa., Father Dave Bonnar spoke of the unbelievable pain the boy’s family is feeling.

"Maddox was a happy child who loved life and giggled a lot," Bonnar said, according to WPXI."If he were asked to draw a picture of God he would probably draw a picture of a truck."

Maddox’s love of trucks spurred strangers to donate the toys to a Christian children’s hospital in his honor as requested by the boy’s family in lieu of flowers.

 Jean McAleavey of Green Tree, Pa., was one of those strangers who was moved to make a donation.

“When I first heard about it, it was just awful,” McAleavey told CBS Pittsburgh. “I couldn’t imagine a family going through that. And we wanted to show our support, wanted to come out and give them support.”

The television station said thousands of trucks were being donated in Maddox’s honor.

“I saw the story on the Internet, and I saw it last night, and I knew I didn’t have time to get everyone together; but I figured this has been all over the news, everyone feels horrible for the family so we wanted to do what we could, and in the short amount of time, I think we did pretty well,” Tony Caporuscio, of the Port Authority, told CBS Pittsburgh.

Those who were close to Maddox spoke of how the 2-year-old’s was a happy child.

"He was just a fun loving person. He was like the sweetest little boy you would ever meet," Andrea Oehm, Maddox's preschool teacher, told WPXI.

Anyone interested in donating a trucks should send them to the William Slater II Funeral Home, 1650 Greentree Rd., Pittsburgh, Pa., 15520, according to the Associated Press.

Maddox’s death is being reviewed by the Pittsburgh zoo, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, the AP reported. It’s unclear when the agencies expect to conclude their investigations.

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