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Anyway, to further complicate things, this particular dog (and three of our 4 others to my dismay) are out of date on their rabies vaccines and not up to date (because we haven't gotten the rabies updated) on their licenses.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!