Police Dog Bites Mailman in Neck

Posted on Aug 27, 2007

He’s probably heard the jokes all his life but this time, Joe Luckey was quite fortunate.

Teeth Narrowly Miss Jugular

For no reason, a Police Department dog broke a leash and attacked the mailman. The seven-year-old German shepherd knocked the mail carrier to the ground and clenched down on his face and then neck, missing the jugular vein by the length of a tooth.

"I was thinking, 'Boy, this is really going to hurt. I don't know how bad, but this is really going to hurt,'" Luckey said, according to local news reports.

The dog, named Eric was unprovoked when it ran from its handler, Officer Dave VanBaale. The shepherd ignored VanBaale's calls to stop. Luckey defended himself with his bag and hands. He didn't have time to dispense pepper spray and later needed six stitches to close the wounds.

"I could hear the handler calling him, so I knew he was coming," Luckey said. "I grabbed (the dog), and we went down to the ground together, and I was trying to hold him to keep him from biting me anymore."

Lebanon police will pay Luckey's medical bills and suspend Eric from duty. Police will examine the animal's training and get it checked by a veterinarian. Investigators are troubled by the lack of provocation, Lebanon Police Lt. Brent Wheat said.

"That's the part that bothers us -- there's no explanation for this," Wheat said.

Attack Was Second for Eric

But this wasn’t the first time Eric bit an innocent victim. It attacked people last year while off-duty at a car dealership. "The handler wasn't aware people were still working since it was the middle of the night," Wheat said. "The dog entered the building where the people were working, they tried to grab him and Eric bit a man."