Staffordshire Bull Terrier repeatedly bit Royal Mail postie before owner said: 'It won't bite you'

A POSTIE was mauled by a barking dog ‘surprised’ when she posted mail through the front door, a court heard.

Wednesday, 7th July 2021, 3:00 pm

Stuffy, a nine-year-old Staffordshire Bull Terrier, leapt at Royal Mail postworker Julie Gunnell when she delivered an item at a couple’s home in Bedhampton.

She was bitten three times needing hospital treatment when Stuffy launched into an attack while a three-year-old Cockerspaniel Bulldog yapped away.

Prosecutor Edward Hand said: ‘She took a step into the porch, it’s at that point the Staffordshire Bull Terrier ran at her and it was obvious to her that the dog was being aggressive towards her, barking.

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Ross and Joanne McConnell after their sentencing at Portsmouth Magistrates' Court
(jpns 060721-01)
Ross and Joanne McConnell after their sentencing at Portsmouth Magistrates' Court (jpns 060721-01)

‘She attempted to close the door and by that stage the dog’s head was in the way of closing the door and as such was able to bite her on the left knee and this caused her to scream.’

Dog owner Joanne McConnell came into the hallway and said: ‘It’s alright the dog won’t bite you.’

This was despite blood pouring from the postal worker’s leg.

Mrs Gunnell was bitten again, this time in the right thigh, as she tried to flee.

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Mrs McConnell tried to grab the animal’s flip flop chew toy from the floor and grab its collar at the same time.

The victim ‘continued to scream in pain,’ as the owner failed. Stuffy then bit the victim again - this time in her right forearm.

The onslaught only ended when Mr McConnell, 40, of Ernest Road, Bedhampton, emerged from the toilet and grabbed hold of the dog.

Mrs Gunnell was left bleeding sitting outside the property on a wall. She suffered ‘deep penetrative injuries’ that cut through all skin layers and bruised.

She missed 36 days of work and is set to win compensation through the civil courts.

The McConnells were investigated by police who rated Stuffy as ‘low risk’ and officers offered a community resolution.

Royal Mail took it further as the victim was unhappy with the outcome and the married but separated couple were prosecuted.

Both defendants admitted being in charge of a dog dangerously out of control causing injury on November 28, 2019.

Howard Barrington-Clark, for Mrs McConnell, who still lives at the property, said the dogs were surprised as Mrs Gunnell had stepped across the neighbouring property before coming into the porch.

‘They’re so sorry this happened,’ he said.

Both defendants were fined £225 each with a £32 surcharge and £200 costs.

The dog now always wears a muzzle outdoors, and the owners have reinforced a back garden fence. They will install a post box away from the property.

A Royal Mail spokeswoman said: ‘Royal Mail treats all dog attacks on our postmen and women very seriously and we will seek to prosecute dog owners in the criminal courts when appropriate.

‘In addition to cases pursued by the police, Royal Mail has prosecuted 25 dog owners since the change in the law in 2014. Last year, 33 postal workers were attacked each week. One attack is one attack too many and we urge all dog owners to ensure their animal is secured when the postman calls.

‘The vast majority of dog owners are very responsible and keep their pets under control. However, last year, there were 1,690 dog attacks on postmen and women in the UK. We continue to appeal to dog owners and their families to help reduce the number of attacks, particularly at the door and in the garden.’

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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