Go back and read my posts. No, I would not have jumped in the dog pit. That would have been a blatantly bad thing to do. That is the very reason the zookeepers didn't rush in themselves or anybody else. His own mother didn't either.
As I pointed out, the shooting distance was less than 10 yards. I think this would have been an exceptionally good time to use a firearm. What is the benefit of carrying a projected force weapon if you don't use it to project force at a time when projected force is needed?
Does this mean that I would be Joe Sharpshooter and shoot the brains out of each dog without hitting the child? Not hardly. As in the Steve Stevenson case, it is stupid to kill the victim when you are trying to kill the animal(s) instead. So you don't shoot where you are likely to hit the victim.
As noted, this is one of the few cases where warning shots may have been most appropriate. The African Painted Dog pit is covered in dirt. So you have your backstop from the elevated position where the child fell into the pit.
All 11 dogs were not biting on the child at once. No, I wasn't there, but there isn't room for them to do that and that would not be normal behaivor. Some attempt to attack or feed as others circle. So if you don't don't like warning shots and don't feel you can shoot a dog directly with the child (the child too close or in the line of fire), then you shoot one that is far enough away that you feel safe to try to shoot it. If and when dogs break off from the child in response to the noise, you attempt to shoot them.
So could I have saved the child? That would depend on my shooting skills and how well or poorly the dogs reacted to the noise and being struck.
Is 5 shots enough? This is a question often asked. In this case, that would depend on the dogs. Obviously, you aren't going to kill/incapacitate 11 moving dogs with 5 shots, so your only hope (for 5 shot revolver carriers) is that the reports (warnings or attempted hits) and the yelps (for those dogs hit, if any) are sufficient to keep them at bay. I don't carry a revolver. I carry a 1911 and 1 spare mag. That gives me 17 shots...still maybe not enough to kill/incapacitate that many dogs given the dynamics of the situation.
"If you look through your scope and see your shoe, aim higher."
-- said to me by my 11 year old daughter before going out for hogs 8/13/2011