Florida postwoman died after being attacked by 5 dogs when her vehicle broke down, officials say

The postwoman, identified as Pamela Jane Rock of Melrose, was in the Interlachen Lake Estates area on Sunday after her vehicle broke down, according to the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office.

Residents heard a woman screaming for help and came out to find Rock on the ground with five dogs attacking him, witnesses at the sheriff’s office said. The dogs’ owners and several neighbors rushed to remove the dogs from Rock.

“One of the neighbors even brought his gun and fired several shots into the air and into the ground in an attempt to disrupt the attack,” said Putnam County Sheriff’s Deputy Chief Col. Joseph Wells, at a press conference on Tuesday.

The attempt failed, and neighbors and landlords had to physically remove Rock’s dogs, according to Wells. By the time the deputies arrived, the dogs were back with their owners. The postman was on the ground, bleeding profusely, the sheriff’s office said.

Deputies applied tourniquets and provided first aid until rescue units arrived. Rock was taken to a nearby hospital and then airlifted to a trauma center in Gainesville in critical condition. She succumbed to her injuries Monday night, the sheriff’s office said.

More than 5,400 postal workers were attacked by dogs in the United States in 2021, according to data published by the US Postal Service in June. Florida was one of the top 10 states for dog bites, with 201 incidents reported last year, according to the USPS.

Wells said the investigation into the incident was “very active”.

“We are in frequent communication with the state’s attorney’s office as we explore options to the extent possible in criminal cases as this case continues,” he said.

An initial investigation found the dogs escaped from a fenced yard after being able to move rocks bordering the fence, according to Wells.

Representatives from OSHA and the Postal Service were on scene.

After the attack, animal control officers were called to the scene and took custody of the five dogs that witnesses identified as being involved in the attack. The owner has waived custody of the dogs, which will be humanely euthanized, according to the sheriff’s office.

Wells said the sheriff’s office and animal control have responded to the neighborhood multiple times for animal calls, though it’s unclear if the calls involved the same dogs.

71-year-old man mauled to death by dogs;  owner arrested, according to the sheriff's office

“We’ve spoken to these witnesses and are working to confirm these dogs are identical,” Wells said. “We believe there have been other calls for service regarding these dogs and we are reviewing those calls at this time.”

Neighbors told CNN affiliate News4JAX that the dogs have been a nuisance for some time, saying the animals have been known to jump the fence or climb out from under them.

“Our hearts are with the victim and his family as they go through this tragic event,” said Putnam County Sheriff HD DeLoach. “It is imperative that dog owners take responsibility for keeping their pets in a safe place for their safety and that of those around them.”

The USPS recommends keeping dogs inside the home, behind a fence, away from the door, or on a leash when postal workers drop off mail. The Postal Service also recommends that children do not take mail directly from the postal carrier because dogs may view the carrier as a threat.

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