Dog Bite… Who Is Responsible?
(This is based on a true story in North Carolina …… )
By Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee
She drove into the driveway from the road, she had an idea of how to get extra money. She had worked for the postal service for many years, yet… she still needed money. She and her husband had a habit they needed to support.
It had begun pouring down rain… obscuring view of a sign on the end of the fence. She stopped on the side of the fence, not seeing the sign there… either. It was pouring down rain, but… she was desperate. If her plan worked … she might have some money before she left here.
She sat there looking straight ahead for a moment… not seeing the sign on the shed in front of her. She had her mind on … pulling a scam. She took a deep breath and opened her door… God, she hated to get her hair wet!
As she began to get out, the woman who lived there came out of the door quickly. “Don’t come near that fence, don’t come near that fence!” The mail woman decided to ignore the warning… this wouldn’t do, she had to go to the fence to succeed in her plan.
The woman reached inside the door, her hand came out with an umbrella. “I’ll come to the gate!” As the woman walked down the steps, walked quickly toward the gate, she yelled at the mailwoman who was insistent on going straight to the fence. “Don’t put your hands near that fence!”
A medium-size dog was jumping up and down like a jumping jack at the fence, barking at the mailwoman. He didn’t look very threatening, her scam was going to work. No one would take the word of the woman … they’d take her word because she was a …. mail woman. A Federal employee….. and she needed extra money, and this woman was going to give it to her!
The woman yelled out once again, but… the mail woman wasn’t listening… she deliberately stuck her hand out, not seeing the sign she put her hand over… the sign she’d park alongside of… the sign her door opened right to. Any fool would have seen it……………….
When the woman yelled the second time, lunged forward to push the mail woman’s hand back…. it was too late. The dog had nipped the mail woman’s hand.
The woman quickly walked out of the gate to go to the mail woman. What she saw next shocked, surprised her. She ‘knew’ something wasn’t right… the mail woman ‘began having a heart attack’, she began acting very strange.
The mail woman began talking in a theatrical voice saying “I’ve been bitten by a dog! I’ve been bitten by a dog!” The woman took her hand, was further amazed. There was only a little place there… the skin was broken but, it wasn’t a bad bite. She asked the mail woman ‘why?’ was she acting like that.
The mail woman wouldn’t answer. The woman told her that she would call the rescue. The mail woman screamed at her, “don’t call anyone!” She got in her mail car, and sat back against the seat letting her head loll around, began ‘having a heart attack again’.
The woman asked her if she could put alcohol or something on her wound. Thankfully, the mail woman told her ‘no’, because it would have gotten her into trouble later.
The mail woman wouldn’t speak to the woman, she just wanted to lay back against her seat ‘having a heart attack’. The woman had been talking to her husband on her cellphone the whole time… she told him that the mail woman didn’t want her to call anyone. She told her husband that she wanted someone there, something just didn’t feel right.
After fifteen minutes, the mail woman still ‘having a heart attack’ in her car, telling her to not call anyone, and not to worry, she wasn’t going to sue her for her dog biting her! When she said that… the woman ‘knew’ she was right that there’s something wrong with this mail woman.
The woman told her husband to hang up, call her back in a few minutes. She wanted to take a couple of photos of their fence and the position of the car…. the mail woman became angry when she saw her taking the photos.
The mail woman became angrier when she told her she ‘was’ going to call someone. The woman called the sheriff’s office and told the dispatcher what had happened, she asked for someone to come out there to be with her. She told the dispatcher that the mail woman wouldn’t let her call the rescue, wouldn’t leave…. only lay back in her car like she was having a heart attack.
While she talked within earshot of the mail woman… the mail woman finally called someone… her boss. Shortly after her boss came, talked to her and took photos. The woman asked her if she took photos of the signs on the fence… the boss nodded her head with a little smile in her eyes, affirming that she had.
While this was going on, the woman noticed the mail woman no longer acted like she was having a heart attack, neither was she all against her back seat ‘having a heart attack’. This led the woman to believe that this could have been a scam. ‘Why’, she wondered?
She told the mail woman that the person at the sheriff’s department said to stay there, unless she wanted to leave for the hospital. She also, said that the animal control would be there in fifteen minutes. She left going in the opposite direction of the hospital.
“Damn b_____!” Her scam didn’t work! That woman was supposed to have been afraid, began offering her money right away to not tell anyone! It had worked several times before…. “no, she had to call someone!”
The animal control officer came and stayed for some time, observing the two dogs that were inside their fenced-in yard. He took note of all the ‘Beware of Dog’ signs every so many feet on their fence.
He listened as the woman quietly told him what happened, showed him where the mail woman parked in front of the ‘Beware of Dog’ sign… where she got out of her vehicle in front of that same sign …. where she reached over that fence to give a little box that would have fit into the mailbox.
As he looked around, he saw the No Trespassing signs on the property. All the while he watched the woman’s dogs. Those aren’t dangerous dogs, that dog was only protecting you. As for the other dog, all he wants to do is play.
He sadly informed the woman that her dog would have to be quarantined for ten days, regardless. The woman showed him the certificate of proof of the dog’s rabies vaccination.
When the animal control man left.. the woman was in a deep study. She kept replaying all that happened…. that mail woman had touched her life by walking past an invisible boundary she shouldn’t have crossed.
She disobeyed the signs on the fence, she disregarded her when she kept yelling at her to not come near the fence, not put her hand over that fence. To think that at first, she thought she was being rude for yelling at that mail woman.
She called her husband back… she told him she felt that mail woman came to the fence with ill-intentions. Of course, she can’t prove that… nor would anyone take her word over a postal employee.
Several weeks later, the woman received a letter in the mail from the postal service stating that she would be responsible for paying for the woman’s dog bite, and any other expenses incurred.
Needless to say.. the woman was so upset. Her world had been violated, her dogs should have been safe in their own fenced-in yard… there were signs all around it. There were no-trespassing signs all around.
She wondered if she went to someone’s house, ignored their signs and let herself get bitten by their dogs…. would they have to pay her a huge sum of money? It just didn’t make sense…. isn’t that ‘why’ people have signs? What else can one do to protect their home, property, pets?
This is a true story…