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    Dog incident leads to warning
Letter carrier claims 3 dogs came running at her in Fairfield

Wednesday, December 18, 2002

Copyight © 2002 Blethen Maine Newspapers Inc.

FAIRFIELD — A downtown dog owner was issued a warning this week after his three pit bull terrier-mix dogs allegedly attacked a U.S. Postal Service letter carrier.

Fairfield Police Chief John L. Emery said the incident happened Monday outside 215 Main St. He said the attack was reported to him by a supervisor from the post office in Waterville.

"She was walking up the driveway and the three dogs came running at her," police Officer Amie Trahan wrote in her report of the incident. "She managed to fight them off and never got bitten but was very upset."

Trahan said she interviewed the postal carrier Linda Rood and then called Animal Control Officer Dennis Jackson of Winslow.

Jackson in turn issued the warning to William Harding, who reportedly owns the dogs, said to be a mix of pit bull, Rottweiler and German shepherd.

No one was visible at the Harding home Tuesday for comment on the case. Harding's telephone number is unpublished at his request.

Emery said Jackson's investigation discovered that Harding has a post office box and does not get home delivery of his mail. He added that the dogs never left the yard, a point disputed by the U.S. Postal Service.

"We're told they did come into the street," said Christine Dugas, a postal service spokeswoman in charge of the Northeast region. Dugas also said there were four dogs, not three.

She said Rood apparently was delivering mail to the house next to Harding's when the dogs rushed her.

"She was not physically injured, but she was quite shaken and frightened," Dugas said of Rood. "Postal managers are working with the dog officer to ensure that the animals are secured."

Dugas said national statistics show dogs as being among the primary hurdles to mail carriers getting their job done.

"That's very frightening for letter carriers," she said. "We've had some very serious injuries involving dog bites, especially when it involves more than one dog.

"They tend to get into a pack mentality when there are several of them."

Dugas said between 2,000 and 3,000 dog attacks on mail carriers are reported annually across the country costing millions of dollars in lost work time and medical expenses.

She said one letter carrier in California was knocked unconscious as he fell in a domestic dog attack and was then dragged into an alley where the dogs nearly killed him.

"They literally had to beat the dogs off with a baseball bat," Dugas said.

In Fairfield, Chief Emery said a local ordinance involving the care and handling of dogs will be enforced in all reported cases.

"They already have a post office box, so she wasn't delivering mail there," he said. "If (the dogs) leave his property they have to have a leash on and be in control."

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