Dog attack postman undergoes hand surgery

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A Wiltshire postman has undergone extensive surgery to regain the use of his hand after being attacked by a dog.

Paul Ratcliffe was delivering letters to a farm near Malmesbury when he was attacked by a Weimaraner dog owned by a police officer.

Nerves in his thumb were severed in the attack, affecting the use of his hand.

Wiltshire Police said the officer had been given a letter of warning but no further action would be taken as it was a civil matter.

Mr Ratcliffe, from Sherston, said he was delivering a letter to a farm in Charlton when the dog "grabbed" him.

'I was shocked'

"I was just walking past the dog and the next thing it had its jaws locked around my hand," he said.

"I had to get my hand back out of its jaws, which it wasn't keen to let go of, which then caused quite a lot of damage.

"And when I ran it under the tap, I was shocked by how bad it was - that's when my arm started shaking."

Mr Ratcliffe had to undergo two hours of surgery to graft nerves from his arm into his hand to try to restore the use of his hand.

He has been signed off sick by doctors for the next four weeks but said he would not be pressing charges against the dog's owner.

'4,000 animal attacks'

A spokeswoman for Royal Mail said there were about 4,000 animal attacks a year on Royal Mail staff and its main aim was "to prevent attacks".

"If we feel that there is a risk from a dog, or any other animal, at an individual address, we are committed to working with the customer to agree simple steps to ensure that we can deliver the mail safely," she said.

"And we also regularly communicate with our people about the dangers of dog attacks and provide advice to postmen and women on techniques to minimise harm in the event of an attack."

A Wiltshire Police spokesman said the officer concerned had been given a letter of warning but the force would not be taking further action as it was a civil matter.

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