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‘The dog had a chunk out of my leg’: Elgin postie describes terrifying mauling by danger dog

Lassie's owner Rebecca Phillipson has now been banned from keeping dogs and must pay the injured postwoman £500.

Two of the injuries the Elgin postie sustained from the dog attack
Some of the injuries postal worker Jane Moxham suffered after Lassie attacked her in Elgin.

The owner of a dog who viciously mauled a postie in Elgin has been ordered to pay her compensation.

Rebecca Phillipson, 30, had denied her German Shepherd Lurcher cross called Lassie had been out of control but was found guilty after a trial at Elgin Sheriff Court.

Postal worker Jane Moxham, 56, gave evidence and described how she had to fight off the dog after it “latched on” and bit her arm, leg and breast during the attack on April 7 last year.

Ms Moxham told the court that she was “always cautious” about going to Phillipson’s West Covesea Road house because the dog “usually reacted”.

Rebecca Phillipson and her dog Lassie
Rebecca Phillipson’s dog Lassie bit a postal worker. Image: Facebook

Fiscal depute Victoria Silver asked Ms Moxham to describe the moment Lassie attacked.

Ms Moxham said: “I had delivered the mail and had turned my back – I walking away to cross to the other side of the road.

“The next thing I knew, the dog had a chunk out of my leg.

“I started fighting and kicking – trying to get it off.”

Postie’s injuries after Elgin dog attack

She became upset as she listed her injuries, which included wounds to her leg, bite marks on her elbow, scratches on her arm and also “a shaking, latching on” injury to her breast.

Elgin Postal worker Jane Moxham and her dog attack injuries.
Postal worker Jane Moxham and her dog attack injuries.

Ms Moxham said as she was shouting for help she noticed Phillipson’s six-year-old son watching from the open front doorway.

“I was screaming for him to get someone to get the dog off me – I shouted that several times,” she told the court.

Ms Moxham described how she had looked around for help and saw another neighbour “looking up my way”, but then they “disappeared back in the house”.

She told the court at that point she felt helpless and thought “I’m not winning this” and concluded she was very much “on her own”.

She decided to try to direct the dog back into its house and said: “I tried to kick it back to the house – I needed to do something.”

Ms Silver asked if there was any sign of the owner, Phillipson, and she replied: “She was there when I got back, but [Phillipson] never left the threshold of the house.”

A photo of Rebecca Phillipson at Clubland and Elgin Sheriff Court
Rebecca Phillipson stood trial at Elgin Sheriff Court.

Ms Silver asked how long the attack had lasted, and Ms Moxham said: “Not long, but it was sustained.

“All four quadrants on my body had been attacked. The surgeons later said the injury on my breast was a shaking injury – like it had latched on and had thrashed about.”

Ms Moxham then told the court Phillipson grabbed the dog and shut it inside and began apologising, saying “he knows not to let the dog out”.

She added: “I said I would never be delivering mail to her property again – I gathered up my mail, which was strewn about the place. I got back in my van and drove to the hospital.”

Phillipson also gave evidence and explained her son, who had been six at the time, had been “in and out” of the house playing.

She said she hadn’t been sure where Lassie had been, but she was “either upstairs or in the living room” as she wasn’t with her.

‘Mum, the dog’

Defence agent Grant Daglish asked what she recalled about the incident, and she said: “I heard [my son] shout ‘Mum, the dog’ and I went to see what it was about.

“I seen the postie getting all panicked because Lassie had attacked her. I got Lassie by the collar and pulled her back into the house.”

Under cross-examination, Phillipson was asked if she knew the dog did not like posties, she replied: “Yes.”

She was also asked if she had seen the dog “latched on”, replying: “No.”

But added: “She had a guilty look on her face, like she knew she had done wrong.”

Sheriff David Hardie found Phillipson guilty of having a dog dangerously out of control and said: “I heard compelling evidence from Ms Moxham that you just stood at the door. She was fighting and thought she was going to lose.

Postie issues

“You were aware there were issues with Lassie and deliveries. It was normal practice for Lassie to be closed in a room if someone was at the door – and she had issues with posties.

“Your son was only six and cannot be regarded as a fit and proper person to be responsible for the dog. I find you guilty as liabled.”

He ordered Phillipson, whose address was given as West Covesea Road, Elgin, to pay £500 compensation to Ms Moxham and banned her from owning a dog for two years.

Lassie, the court heard, is now living with a family member in Elgin.

‘I firmly believe it is a dangerous dog’

Following the verdict, Ms Moxham said she was disappointed Lassie wasn’t put down.

She said: “To be honest, I’m very frustrated that the dog was not ordered to be destroyed. I was told at the time by the police that they don’t have the power to order destruction, without a court order and that they would be asking for that at the trial.

“I firmly believe it is a dangerous dog and that if one of my smaller colleagues had been attacked, they would have been very, very seriously injured.

“I was not exaggerating when I said in court that I realised that I was not winning the fight and that I had to do something different, like get the dog inside the house.

“I feel like it was only my quick reactions, to immediately start kicking and fighting back, and my resolve, that prevented me from being very seriously injured.

“That’s why the dog is still alive and that if I had been more badly injured then maybe more appropriate action would have been taken.”