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Postal carrier, 61, dies after 5 dogs mauled her when her car broke down

Pamela Jane Rock had just finished her postal service training and "was just so excited for this new adventure," her niece said.
Postal worker Pamela Rock.
Postal worker Pamela Rock.Courtesy family
/ Source: TODAY

A 61-year-old Florida postal worker died Monday after she was attacked by a group of five dogs, authorities said.

Pamela Jane Rock died at an area hospital one day after the attack in Interlachen, Florida, Putnam County Sheriff’s Col. Joseph Wells said during a press conference on Tuesday.

Wells said multiple neighbors, including the owner of the dogs, responded to Rock's screams for help Sunday when the dogs started to attack. Investigators believed the dogs moved rocks at the base of a fence to escape their enclosure.

"One neighbor brought his firearm along and fired several shots in the air in an attempt to disrupt the attack," Wells said. "That was unsuccessful."

Wells said when officers arrived on the scene, Rock was on the ground and the dogs had been contained back inside of a fenced yard. Officers applied tourniquets until medical personnel arrived and transported Rock to an area hospital.

Rock went into cardiac arrest while en route to the hospital, but medics were able to stabilize her, Wells said. She was later airlifted to a trauma center in Gainesville, but died from her injuries Monday evening.

Rock's niece told NBC affiliate WTLV Rock had just started her job as a postal worker in December and was driving a postal vehicle when it broke down in the neighborhood Sunday afternoon.

"She had finished up her training and she was just so excited for this new adventure," Rock's niece told WTLV, before describing her aunt's injuries from the attack.

"She had one arm amputated before she passed," Rock's niece said. "And they had her other limbs in slings trying to save them, her heart stopped twice and her blood pressure was all over the place." 

All five dogs involved in Sunday’s attack will be euthanized per Florida state law, Wells said. He described the dogs as “mixed breed,” but did not have any further details.

Rock's niece questioned how the attack could have happened.

"How did it get so far?" Rock’s niece asked WTLV. "Why were so many dogs able to get to her? Where were the owners? Why were they not locked up?"

Animal control and sheriff's deputies had been called to the neighborhood several times in the past three years, Wells said, and the dogs responsible for Rock's death are believed to be behind at least two other complaints.

"We believe there have been other calls for service regarding these dogs," Wells said.

The United States Postal Service said it was "deeply saddened" by Rock's death in a statement to NBC News.

"A postal family member lost her life in a dog bite attack,” the office said. "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 owner of the dogs is cooperating with the investigation. The investigation is still ongoing, but the owner could face misdemeanor charges if they knew their dogs were dangerous but failed to "exercise due caution," Wells said.