herald

Monday 21 August 2017

€103k for postman scarred for life in 'savage' dog attack

James McCreary shows off his scars Picture: Collins
James McCreary shows off his scars Picture: Collins

A postman has been awarded €103,000 against a dog owner after he was attacked by a German Shepherd outside a house while delivering mail.

James McCreary was left with scars on his leg when he was "savagely attacked" by the fully grown dog, Mr Justice Kevin Cross said in making the High Court award.

Mr McCreary, who has been a postman for 30 years, was knocked to the ground and screamed for his life, the court heard.

He was saved by the prompt action of the owner's son, who pulled the dog off him.

Mr Justice Cross said it was a "significant case where the postman was entitled to significant damages".

Mr McCreary (53), of Wood Dale Road, Rush, Co Dublin, had sued the dog owner, Sheelagh Morris, of Mill Road, St Margarets, Co Dublin, over the incident as he delivered post to the Morris home on October 31, 2014.

Liability was admitted and the case was before the court for assessment of damages only.

Opening the case, Richard Kean, for Mr McCreary, said his client thought he was going to be killed in the ferocious attack and was left in excruciating pain afterwards.

Infected

He was left with three lacerations to his right leg, which later became infected.

Counsel said the postman, who was off work for three-and-a-half months, also suffered severe post-traumatic stress.

Mr Kean said that, on a previous occasion, the dog had frothed at the mouth and barked at the postman as he delivered mail to an outside box. This incident had been mentioned to the owner.

The court heard the German Shepherd was put down after the attack.

Mr McCreary told the court the gate was open when he pulled up at the Morris home.

He went to get the post from the back of the van when the dog charged at him, latching on to his leg.

"I was screaming 'help, help, help'. I thought this was it," he said.

"I was kicking at the dog. I hit him on the snout but I was not going to get away from this dog.

"I thought it might have lasted three minutes but it was probably 30 seconds."

He said the son of the owner dragged the dog off him and he pulled himself on his knees to his post van.

"I was a wreck. It scared the life out of me. It is a cliche to say a dog attacks a postman but this was no joke," he said.

After the hearing, Mr McCreary's solicitor, Dermot McNamara, said his client was relieved following the case.

"Postal workers cannot defend themselves against dogs who attack, however many precautions they take," he said.

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