PUTNAM COUNTY, Fla. – Family and loved ones on Thursday said their final goodbyes to Pamela Rock, the mail carrier who died from injuries after she was attacked by dogs while on her route in rural Putnam County.
According to data from the United States Postal Service, more than 5,400 postal employees were attacked by dogs in the U.S. in the year 2021. Florida, USPS data shows, was one of the top 10 states for dog bites, with 201 incidents reported in 2021. Just two less incidents were reported in Florida a year prior.
The death of Rock, 61, has brought national attention to the issue.
According to the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office, Rock’s truck broke down Sunday on a road in the Interlachen Lakes Estates area before she was attacked by five dogs that had escaped their owner’s fenced property. The dogs that attacked her were euthanized Thursday morning.
Rock was the youngest of 14 children. According to her obituary, she grew up in Plantation, Florida, and later lived in Fort Lauderdale and graduated from the University of Florida.
She loved gardening, building relationships in her church group and going to Gators football games.
A service of remembrance for Rock was held Thursday afternoon. Memorial contributions in her honor can be made to St. Francis Pet Care in Gainesville.
Postal carrier Carol Mondine said she also was attacked by a dog while on her route in Sacramento, California.
“It’s nothing that you can imagine prior to it actually happening to you,” Mondine said. “He came out, grabbed my arm and it felt like he took it with him. He just ripped into it and kept going with it.”
Mondine said what happened to Rock has brought back painful memories.
“I can only imagine with, you know, with my limited experience what she probably went through,” Mondine said. “And I just don’t want this to happen to anyone else.”
The dogs’ owner has not been charged, but earlier this week the Sheriff’s Office said it’s a possibility.
USPS sent News4JAX the following statement on the employee’s death:
“A postal family member lost her life in a dog bite attack. The U.S. Postal Service is deeply saddened at the loss of our employee. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family and her co-workers at this time.”
The USPS says it trains workers to use their mail satchel as a first line of defense. A training video instructs them not to run from dogs, but rather to stand their ground and back away slowly. They urge owners not to take mail directly while their pet is nearby as the animal may see it as a threatening gesture.
But in Rock’s case, it took multiple neighbors to call off the dogs that apparently escaped their fenced-in yard. The USPS reminds dog owners that it is their responsibility to restrain their pet.
6 fatal dog attacks in Northeast Florida since 2007
The death of the postal employee in a dog attack is the second tragedy of its kind in Putnam County in eleven years.
Including the postal employee’s death, there have been six dog attack fatalities in the Northeast Florida area dating back to 2007, according to News4JAX records.
In 2012, a 17-month-old boy returned home with his mother from the store. She was unloading, and the boy wandered across the street into a neighbor’s yard, where a Rottweiler was chained. It fatally mauled the boy.
In 2011, a man was killed by pit bulls in Putnam County.
A 3-day-old infant was fatally mauled by the family dog in Arlington in 2010.
In 2007, a 42-year-old Middleburg woman was attacked and killed by her two pit bulls. She had raised them from puppies. The family had no idea what happened. They came home to find her dead.