A U.S. Postal Service carrier who was attacked by five dogs in Putnam County, Florida, has died, a sheriff’s official said.
Pamela Jane Rock, 61, died at a hospital Monday night, the day after the vicious attack, which a neighbor tried to stop by firing into the air, sheriff’s Col. Joseph Wells said Tuesday at a news conference.
“One neighbor brought his firearm along and fired several shots in the air in an attempt to disrupt the attack,” Wells said. “That was unsuccessful.”
Neighbors and the dogs’ owner pulled the animals off Rock after they heard her scream, he said. The animals were seized and will be euthanized. Additional details about the dogs, including size or breed, were not provided.
Rock’s niece told NBC affiliate WTLV of Jacksonville that Rock had recently completed training with the Postal Service and was in a postal vehicle when it broke down Sunday in a neighborhood about 65 miles south of Jacksonville.
She said that her aunt was horrifically wounded and that doctors amputated an arm in their attempt to save her.
Animal control officials had visited the dogs’ home at least twice in the last three years, Wells said.
They were most likely responding to complaints about vicious dogs, but investigators were still working to confirm the information, Wells said.
“We believe there have been other calls for service regarding these dogs,” he said.
Neighbors told WTLV that the dogs have been running wild in the neighborhood for weeks.
Rock’s niece said she needs answers to questions, such as why so many vicious dogs were able to attack someone without initial intervention.
Authorities believe the animals had been properly secured but were able to remove rocks that lined the bottom of a fence to escape.
The dogs had not been deemed dangerous by animal control, Wells said, and the owner has cooperated with deputies.
He said a local statute states that owners may be liable if they knew their dogs are dangerous but fail to “exercise due caution.”
The Postal Service mourned the loss Tuesday night. “A postal family member lost her life in a dog bite attack,” the agency said in a prepared statement. “The U.S. Postal Service is deeply saddened at the loss of our employee. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family and her co-workers at this time.”