Thursday 27 July 2017

Postman left with gruesome injuries after dog attack awarded €103,000

WARNING: Graphic images of injuries

Postman James McCreary displays his scars outside court. Photo: Collins Courts
Postman James McCreary displays his scars outside court. Photo: Collins Courts

Tim Healy

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

James McCreary was left with physical scars on his leg and the memory of what occurred 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 Margaret's, Co Dublin, over the incident as he delivered post to the Morris home on October 31, 2014.

He claimed there was a failure to ensure a person visiting the house was not attacked by the dog. There was also a failure to adequately or at all deal with previous concerns of Mr McCreary with regard to the dog.

The horrific wounds Mr McCreary suffered in the attack by a German Shepherd dog. Photo: Collins Courts
The horrific wounds Mr McCreary suffered in the attack by a German Shepherd dog. Photo: Collins Courts

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

Infected

Opening the case, Richard Kean SC, for Mr McCreary, said his client thought he was going to be killed in the ferocious attack and was left in excruciating pain afterwards. He was left with three lacerations to his right leg which later became infected.

Read more: 'I was screaming help, help, help... I thought this was it' - Postman scarred in German Shepherd attack awarded €103k

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

Counsel said on a previous occasion, the dog had been inside the Morris home gate frothing at the mouth and barking at the postman as he delivered post. 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 to the Morris home at 8.30am on October 31, 2014.

He went to get the post from the back of the van when there was a rustle and the dog charged at him, latching on to his leg. "I thought this was it," he said. 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 cliché to say a dog attacks a postman but this was no joke."

Making a total award of €103,300, to include special damages of €3,300, Mr Justice Cross said Mr McCreary was a most pleasant and honest witness who is left with the scars and the memory of what occurred.

Irish Independent

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