Dogs may be man’s best friend, but they’re not always nice to the mail carrier.
A Eugene postal worker claims in a newly filed lawsuit that the owner of a Siberian husky owes her nearly $183,000 in connection with an alleged attack that occurred two years ago while she delivered mail in the Cal Young neighborhood off Oakway Road.
According to the suit — filed in Lane County Circuit Court — U.S. Postal Service employee Kristin Joachim sustained major facial injuries when a dog named Yukon waylaid her on April 14, 2012.
Joachim claims in the suit that she was delivering mail on Sandy Drive when a woman named Jill Cole walked toward her and lost control of Yukon. Cole had a toddler on her hip and the dog on a leash before Yukon jumped on Joachim and “viciously attack(ed her) without provocation,” the lawsuit states.
Cole knew Yukon was “an abnormally dangerous dog,” the lawsuit alleges.
It was not clear Friday if local animal-control authorities seized the dog after the incident. A Eugene police log does not list any calls for service on Sandy Drive on the day of the alleged attack.
Cole and Joachim could not be reached for comment on Friday. A message left at the office of Joachim’s attorney, Emily Shack of Eugene, was not returned immediately.
According to the lawsuit, Joachim suffered a major facial laceration that tore partially through one of her lower eyelids and into her cheek. She had skin tissue removed and underwent surgery for the injuries, which caused scarring and disfigurement, the suit states.
Joachim is seeking $150,000 to reimburse her for pain and suffering, $30,000 to cover medical expanses and $2,900 for lost wages, according to the lawsuit.
No additional details regarding the incident are included in the suit.
More than 5,000 letter carriers each year report being attacked by canines in the United States, U.S. Postal Service spokesman Mark Saunders said Friday.
“Any dog can bite,” he said. Saunders added that, in his opinion, “All of these attacks (on mail carriers) could be prevented through responsible pet ownership. Period.”
It’s unclear exactly how often pet owners are held accountable when their dogs injure other people.
Saunders said scenarios such as the one described in Joachim’s claim are not uncommon. He said most dog attacks involving letter carriers occur when a mailman approaches a home.
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