ANIMAL WATCH - National Dog Bite Awareness Week was declared by the U.S. Postal Service this year from June 5 through June 11, 2022.
The United States Postal Service observes this week every year to remind dog owners across the nation of the dangers of dog bites and also emphasize that allowing dogs to run loose can affect service to the entire community.
The Postal Service also ranks states and cities by the number of dog attacks that take place during the year on USPS mail carriers.
CA REMAINS #1 IN U.S. DOG BITES
Over 5,400 mail carriers were victims of dog bites while making deliveries, with CA once again repeating its dubious distinction as #1 in dog bites to carriers, with 656; and Los Angeles ranked as the #4 city in the U.S. with 44 reported bites in 2021.
NOT ONLY DOGS BITE IN CALIFORNIA
“Although less common, other animals can sometimes create a hazard for postal employees. Earlier this year, for instance, a mail carrier in California was forced to beat a wild turkey to death as a last resort after turkeys in the area were continually attacking postal employees in the area,” according to Fedsmith.
LIABILITY CAN EXTEND BEYOND DOG OWNERSHIP
Putnam County, W. VA, Sheriff Bobby Eggleton told MetroNews on March 4 that a USPS mail carrier was seriously injured by two vicious dogs, at least one of which was identified as a Pit Bull-mix, while she was delivering mail about 1:20 p.m. in the area called Red House.
Sheriff Eagleton said the owner who claimed the dogs did not live at the house, but they ran from the back and knocked the postal carrier down as she dropped off a package on the front porch. They inflicted severe bite wounds to her face, forehead and deep lacerations to her arms, and she appeared to be in shock,” Eggleton told MetroNews.
He said the homeowner acted as a “human shield” to save the carrier’s life.
“He ran the dogs off and put his body across her to keep her from being further attacked,” he said. “If she was alone, we’d fear the worst because she was totally incapacitated by these two animals.”
The mail carrier was transported to the hospital, and deputies were forced to shoot both dogs to stop them from attacking.
Although the homeowner did not claim ownership of the dogs, this is a reminder that anyone who is harboring a vicious animal can be held responsible, and it is possible the homeowner could be charged with harboring a vicious animal, the sheriff said.
“I was told by our deputy that the individual at the home said, ‘you got to be careful because they will bite you.’ Well, if you know that your animal will bite you, they need to be restrained,” he said.
PIT BULL BITES NYPD OFFICER IN HEAD
Warming up for the week, the New York Post reported on May 15, 2022, that an NYPD officer had to be rushed to the hospital after being bitten in the head by a charging Pit Bull. The officers were responding to a call of an “armed gunman on Coney Island.”
The officer was reportedly chasing the armed suspect around 6:00 p.m., when the suspect ran into a home near West 35th Street and unleashed two dogs from inside.
“One of the dogs ran out, charged the cop and bit him in the head. Another officer pulled out his gun and shot the pit bull,” police said. (Both the officer and the dog survived.)
SPOKANE, WA – PIT BULL ATTACK IN RIVERSIDE STATE PARK 6/07
SCRAPS investigating dog attack at Riverside State Park
A Spokane, WA, resident, Douglas Oliveira, was taking a regular walk with is dog, Baylee, in Riverside State Park, accompanied by his one-year-old daughter (riding in his backpack carrier) and a friend on Tuesday night (June 7, 2022), when a white Pit Bull with brown markings, who was at least 100 feet away, suddenly just “took off and…charged at us and then started attacking my dog,” he told KHQ.
Oliveira said the dog was not holding the Pit Bull’s leash and he had never seen either the dog or the owner before.
Oliveira said. "I didn't know what to do so I just started punching the dog in the face until it finally got off [my dog]." His hand was bitten trying to separate the two dogs, but he didn’t hear the owner give any commands to his dog to “stop.” And afterward, the owner just left with the Pit Bull.
He called his wife and she told KHQ, “The minute I answered it I could hear my daughter screaming, I could hear Baylee crying in the background, and all I could hear was Douglas saying, 'I need you, where are you?'”
Morgan showed up and took Baylee, their four-year-old Lab, to the emergency veterinarian while Oliveira got his hand checked out at the emergency room–and bandages applied.
"We took her to the vet, and when they were really able to evaluate her wounds it was very apparent that she was in trouble," Morgan said. Baylee’s wounds were described as “Horrific, with wounds all along both sides of her body.” Describing the Pit Bull, she said “That dog was in kill mode...going for vulnerable parts of her neck."
They immediately contacted the Spokane County Regional Animal Protection Service after the attack, and filed a report. SCRAPS says they've received the report and are investigating the incident.
Oliveira said he was “just thankful that nothing happened to my child."
NEIGHBORS SAVE WOMAN, SMALL DOG IN BLOODY ATTACK BY PIT BULL
On June 11, CBS reported that neighbors had responded to save a woman and her small Poodle-mix from a brutal Pit Bull attack in the Kilbourn Park community in Chicago’s Northwest Side, which they called, “a terrifying, bloody mess.”
The woman was reportedly walking with her small dog along Kildare Avenue when a Pit Bull—who was leashed—got loose and attacked them. Neighbors said this was not the first attack by this Pit Bull.
At first, one neighbor stated, "I thought I heard kids playing - like screaming, playing – and then it got worse." The scene was described as “chaos.”
"I saw a woman being dragged on the street by her hair by a dog," a witness exclaimed.
A brave construction worker, Sebastian Mendez, and another witness jumped on the dog, hitting it with a stick to try to force it to release the little dog. One described himself as a “big guy” who could hold the dog down with his hands around its neck and finally got the little dog loose.
Another witness helped the woman get away.
"She was bloody. She had blood on her; scratches on her. She was trying to save her dog…It was brutal," Mendez told CBS News.
Police, an ambulance, and Chicago Animal Care and Control responded.
The woman was hospitalized, and her dog taken for urgent care at a Veterinary clinic.
The attacking dog's owner was described as “an older man.” The Pit Bull was leashed but not properly controlled, according to Animal Care and Control. A citation was reportedly issued by Chicago Police Dept.
NORTH LAS VEGAS LIEUTENANT SHOOTS DOG ATTACKING TWO WOMEN
On June 7, KTNV reported that the North Las Vegas Police Department received a call at 7:53 p.m. that “a dog was attacking its owners” near 5th Street and Lone Mountain Road
In a media release an NLVPD Lieutenant described being the first responder on scene and that he was “flagged down by a neighbor who pointed at a residence. A woman was then located being attacked by a dog.”
During the incident, police say “the pit bull charged the Lieutenant who then discharged his firearm striking the dog. In doing so, he saved the woman from being further attacked.” However, a second woman had also suffered “dog-related wounds.”
Both women were transported to the hospital, and the Pit Bull was transported to the Animal Foundation, where it succumbed to its wounds.
FATHER WRESTLES WITH PIT BULL THAT ATTACKED HIM, TWO CHILDREN
On June 7, a man and his two small children were sent to the hospital with serious wounds from a Pit Bull attack in Woonsocket, R.I, reports WPRI.
Police officers were called to the home on Summit Street, “where they found a man wrestling with a Pit Bull that had bitten him and his kids.”
Police said they had to use a stun gun to restrain the dog until they could get the victims out of the room. The man suffered bites on his body, while the 3-year-old and 1-year-old were bitten on the leg and face.
All were immediately taken to hospitals, with the youngest child first transported to Landmark Medical Center to be stabilized.
The Pit Bull reportedly belonged to a relative who was not home at the time of the attack and reportedly had a history of biting people, police said.
When the owner arrived, he put a muzzle on the dog and surrendered it to animal control. It was later euthanized, according to the report.
MAN LOSES LEGS AFTER VICIOUS PIT BULL ATTACK
On June 10, KTRK reported that a man, Nicolas Vasquez, 51, had to have both legs amputated after three Pit Bull-mixes belonging to a neighbor attacked him on Thursday night.
According to neighbors in the Huffman-area community in TX, the attack happened around 9 p.m. Calvin Stoy told reporters that he saw Vasquez walk by, then heard dogs barking, followed by “some moans.”
Stoy found Vasquez in a ditch by the road and said he told him he “had to fight off the neighbor's dogs.”
"Both legs were torn up bad, hands and arms. He had bites on his head. He was in really bad shape. He lost a lot of blood," Stoy told ABC13.
This is the second time the dogs attacked him in a month, a relative said. And neighbors confirmed the dogs have been terrorizing them for weeks.
Harris County Animal Control seized the dogs for quarantine.
The Harris County Sheriff's Office conducted an investigation and found a damaged fence with a hole in it and the Pit Bulls with blood on them. The owner could face criminal charges, ABC13 reports.
WHY USPS AND ALL OF US SHOULD BE CONCERNED
No matter what action is taken in any of these attacks, the victim is left with serious physical and emotional damages, and at any moment it could be you.
Postal carriers face this possibility every day as they deliver mail to every home and business in the country.
It is time for residents of any community to speak out about the failure of enforcement of tough laws regarding dog restraint and confinement. If you are a dog owner, remember the serious liability and consequences of not assuring your dog is safely secured.
See more statistics at National Pit Bull Victim Awareness.
Remember, if you own a dog (of any breed) it can bite and you are responsible, but “some dogs just don’t let go,” says DogsBite.org.
(Phyllis M. Daugherty is a contributor to CityWatch and a former Los Angeles City employee.)