Tuesday, November 6, 2007
Casper, WY - Postman Len Epperson had been bit five times before. But when the 100-pound pit bull lunged at his face, he knew this time was different. After being knocked to the ground and covering his head and neck, Epperson tried standing up. That's when the dog struck again and he realized, "It's not just a dog bite, it's a serious mauling."
That day, Epperson collected the bundled mail in his postal truck and started for a house. He saw the screen door ajar and a barking, pit bull running for him. Epperson kicked the dog back several times, and struggled to remove his pepper spray from his belt. But the dog overtook the postal worker and knocked him to the ground, biting his ankles and forearms.
"I would kick him in the nose with the bottom of my foot and it would be just enough to push him back, but then he immediately kept coming on. He wasn't backing off, he wasn't giving up,"A man and a girl stopped to help Epperson, and as they picked up the mail scattered by wind, the girl screamed at the dog to divert its attention. "I really appreciated the man and woman who stopped to assist," Epperson said. "But if he decided to turn and take one of them, they were both defenseless. There were so many blessings involved."
When the ambulance pulled up, Epperson told the driver not to get out of the vehicle, fearing the dog would attack. Seconds later, a police car parked behind the ambulance. The instant the police officer opened his door, the dog ran for the police cruiser. "As soon as he started opening his door, why that dog hit his door like that, and he tased it," Epperson said.
There are bite marks above Epperson's right eye, and seven stitches below. He said he felt blessed that the dog did not injure his eye. His leg and arm wounds were cleaned and bandaged in the hospital. Because the dog hadn't been vaccinated for rabies, Epperson had to undergo a series of rabies shots.
Rick Sulzen, manager of Metro Animal Control, said he'd never seen such a savage attack in his 23 years as an animal-control officer. "It's not something that we have seen," Sulzen said. "As long as I have been here we haven't had a dog that continued to attack an individual." Pit bulls may not be a common dog in Casper.
Pit bulls are widely known for their "tenacity," the dog's refusal to stop attacking. The breed does not "cut-off" when in attack mode, as do most other breeds.In a follow up article, the USPS perked up and said that people need to be more responsible with their dogs. Both Sulzen and the Casper postal service were concerned that the last several attacks ended in ambulance rides, stitches and rabies shots. Their solution was to run a public service announcement that focused on dog safety.
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