The animals in the African Serengeti Exhibit at Jackson's Zoo are shaken after a small pack of wild dogs got into the facility, zoo officials said.
A small, antelope-like animal was killed in an early morning attack this Tuesday.
The walls around the entire facility are about 8-foot high and staff is saying they are still not entirely sure how the dogs got in.
Angela Shepard, director of development at the zoo, said maintenance has already made an inspection of the fencing and found no obvious issues.
The fence is sturdy and it's unlikely the dogs could have climbed or jumped it, Shepard said.
It's possible with recent wet weather that a dog could have burrowed deep under an area but there's no evidence of that. (at least, yet)
"And everything seems to be in working order. We have not seen any breeches but we do have miles of perimeter fencing and there has been an issue with feral dogs in the neighborhood," Shepard said.
Especially at Cedarlawn Cemetary, Shepard said, where dogs rest during the day. The space borders the zoo on the eastern side.
Jackson Animal control is stepping in to provide help, Commander Duane Odom said.
"Animals have unique behavior and they tend to get into areas where you don't want them to be," Odom said, speaking at the nearby animal control facility.
"If it's traps we can assist them with lending traps out or signing out traps to capture the animals, the stray animals. Any other means, we would have to assess them by listening to where their problems are," Odom said.
"And we actually had animal control come by today and see what they could do to help us more including more patrols and checking on animals more often because it's not the dogs' faults that people aren't taking care of them," Shepard said.
"We will need help from the community by either spaying or neutering their animals. Or if they don't want animals they need to bring them either to animal control division or take them to the animal shelters," Odom said.
The animal that was killed, a klipspringer, was one of the few animals that are allowed to roam their enclosures overnight - and are not locked away.
Jackson Animal Control reports they pick up between 60 and 100 animals - including feral dogs - each week in the city.
An animal control officer is planning on figuring out a strategy with the zoo first thing Thursday morning.
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