Funeral for Maddox Derkosh, killed when he fell into wild dog enclosure at Pittsburgh Zoo


The parents of Maddox Derkosh requested the toys instead of flowers at his funeral because their son liked to play with trucks and share them with friends.

A funeral was held today for Maddox Derkosh, the two-year-old boy mauled to death by wild dogs at Pittsburgh Zoo.

Thousands of toy construction trucks were donated in lieu of flowers because his parents said their son liked to play with trucks and share them with his friends.

The Pittsurgh Post-Gazette reported the toys will be donated to a charity for needy children at Christmas.

Maddox was killed on a family outing last Sunday to Pittsburgh Zoo when his mother lifted him onto a rail to get a better look at the African painted wild dogs.

According to police, the toddler lost his footing and fell into the enclosure where he was set upon by the pack of 11 dogs. 

At the funeral service yesterday, Maddox's parents held one another as they walked up the aisle behind their son's coffin, AP reported.

Father Bonnar said that in his 25 years as a priest he had "never experienced such a heart-wrenching moment."

"This is a tough time for so many," he said.

Father Bonnar commended the Derkosh parents for organising the toy truck appeal and thinking of other children amid their pain and grief. 

"I think I speak for everyone in this church and in the community by saying that we walk with you today and promise to be here for you tomorrow and for many years to come," the pastor said.

An internal zoo review is under way as well as a police investigation. Improvements may be made to the zoo enclosure and viewing platform.

The Daily Mail reported Mike Manko, a spokesman for the Allegheny County district attorney's office, saying it appears to have been an accident and no charges are expected to be laid.