Monday 20 November 2017

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

WARNING: Graphic images of injuries

James McCreary pictured leaving the Four Courts.Pic: Collins Courts
James McCreary. Pic: Collins Courts
James McCreary. Pic: Collins Courts
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

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.

James McCreary pictured displaying the scars on his right leg. Pic: Collins Courts
James McCreary pictured displaying the scars on his right leg. Pic: Collins Courts

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

Mr McCreary (53) 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 in 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.

Collect image of injuries sustained by James McCreary, of Wood Dale Road. Pic: Collins Courts
Collect image of injuries sustained by James McCreary, of Wood Dale Road. Pic: Collins Courts

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

Opening the case, Richard Kean SC (instructed by Dermot McNamara solicitor), 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.

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

Collect image of injuries sustained by James McCreary. Pic: Collins Courts
Collect image of injuries sustained by James McCreary. Pic: Collins Courts

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 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 to the Morris home at 8.30 am 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 was screaming help , help, help. I thought this was it.

"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 added.

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.

Afterwards his 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.

"Dog owners have a responsibility to keep their pets under control at all times," he added.

In this case, a momentary lapse resulted in Mr McCreary suffering significant and permanent injury, he added.

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