Tuesday, January 29, 2008

More Drama

So I got a call yesterday afternoon from the Post Office that our dog had bit our mail carrier. I was in total shock. I NEVER thought any of our dogs would bite someone. Sure they bark a lot when people drive by our house or approach our gate. Some of them even may occassionally growl. But none of them have EVER bitten anyone. And we have had strangers come on our property without any problems many times.

I still don't have the details yet. All I know is the postal carrier was placing a package on the gate post like they often do. I remember them asking a long time ago where we would prefer packages to be left and we always tell people by the gate. It is out of the way and not highly visible except to our immediate neighbors (3 other houses) who share the gravel road. By this we meant leave it near the gate, not necessarily "on" the gate or "inside" the gate, although that was fine by us too. Basically, we were cool with wherever they wanted to leave it in the general vicinity of the gate. NEVER were we informed that there were any problems. NEVER did they ask if there was an alternative location to leave stuff. Until yesterday when we were informed one of our dogs bit her on the hand when she reached OVER the fence to place the package on top of the rock basket which braces the gate.

All I know so far is the other postal carrier said the dogs often growl at her. This is the first I have heard about the growling. So my question is this; if a dog is growling at you, WHY would you reach over a fence? Doesn't common sense dictate to leave the dog alone and not put yourself in a position that it might bite you? Obviously the dog is giving you warnings if it is growling. I feel TERRIBLE that my dog bit her but at the same time I am angry that she allowed it to happen. Was I somehow negligent here? Am I at fault for this? I thought they trained postal carriers about how to deal with dogs. It's not as though the dog was loose. Apparently they have observed this behavior (growling) before but never brought it to our attention. It seems that most of the negligence has been on their part. Of course now we will have to be extra careful. We are considering building a large fenced enclosure for him internal to our property away from the fence lines but in the mean time, should we be posting signs?

Anyway, to further complicate things, this particular dog (and three of our 4 others to my dismay) are out of date on their rabies vaccines and not up to date (because we haven't gotten the rabies updated) on their licenses. I have no excuse for that other than the usual busy schedule, hard to get into town on the weekend when I am not working, multiple animals=multiple trips etc. which are not very good excuses. Getting at least some of them in this weekend if I can find a place that does just the vaccine (Vets charge you an office visit on top of the vaccine $$$$).

So what do you think? What could/should I have done differently? What should I do now? Help please!


Leslie said...

Oh no! I feel bad for the postal worker, but...why even go over the gate? Especially when there's a growling dog on the other side?

If it were me, I'd probably post a sign, just because I'd feel like I needed to do something.

So sorry this happened. It's just unfortunate.

AB said...

Yup. My thoughts exactly. I feel terrible it happened, but it seems like the dog was giving a warning that she didn't heed. That aside, I am already looking for signs to post, just to warn people to keep back from the fence and the dogs and we will no longer invite people to just "come on in" without making sure the dogs are not loose first. I want to do a custom sign at the gate with out phone # for people to call if they need to get in so we can get the dogs in first. I just can't trust him with strangers coming on the property like I used to. Hopefully it was just a freak thing, and not something that will ever happen again, but we would be negligent and irresponsible not to take steps to avoid another similar situation happening.

The Milk Maid said...

Haha- I would sue the postal worker for tresspassing. Ok, not really :| That is really awful, but how brilliant must you be to reach over a gate towards a growling animal?

mel said...

I'm thinking it's time for a random drug test for this postal worker. No offense...but...um...DAH!!!!

mel said...

I'm thinking it's time for a random drug test for this postal worker. No offense...but...um...DAH!!!!


soochsuech said...

I had a similar situation this past weekend. And what totally baffles us is that the postal worker was told that the dog had an electric fence, we told her where it was and what does she do? She walks into the area I told her was the dogs designated electrified area. The dog bit her but after she had kicked him. He hadn't even attacked her until the kick. I feel so bad she was bit but who goes into an area that they know was for the dog. She said I didn't see him so I thought I was safe. I think she may sue us. Any advice on this isn't she culpable?

AB said...

From what I read searching the internet, the electric fences are not always seen as adequate protection since they are invisible. They may (sometimes not for some dogs) keep the dog in but they have no visual warning like a physical fence does not to cross into the yard.

Even with our physical fence, now that we know there may be an issue, we have posted warning signs (Beware of Dogs) and a sign saying "call to arrange entry" with our phone numbers to make it clear that we don't want people taking the risk of entering the property.

Its hard to say since you did warn her and try to make arrangements to avoid it happening. I think it also depends on the state you are in and whether or not there have been any prior incidents with the dog biting, or if you knew it might happen. For us, we have never had any indication of aggression toward people from this dog (or any of our dogs) and many people have come onto the property with the dogs loose over the past 6years so this came out of the blue for us.