While on his appointed rounds in a Golden Hill neighborhood, San Diego District Letter Carrier Buddy Siso was brutally attacked within inches of his life by a pit bull on his route.
Siso, a 13-year Postal Service veteran, recently joined San Diego Postmaster Ken Snavely at a press conference to raise awareness about responsible pet ownership and the dangers of dog bites.
Siso told the press he was delivering mail to one of his customers when a pit bull in the front yard started trying to jump over the fence as Siso put the mail in the box. The pit bill pushed through the gate and darted right for Siso’s throat.
The dog jumped on Siso and bit him in the neck, shoulder and several times on his legs. “Had it not been for the satchel’s buckle, I would not be here today,” Siso said. “It was the most horrific and terrifying seconds of my life.”
The doctors told Siso that if the dog had bitten any deeper into his neck’s jugular vein, he likely would have died from the attack.
Siso was immediately rushed to the hospital where they performed emergency surgery and he underwent plastic surgery. Siso also lost several teeth in the attack.
While Siso was trying to release himself from the pit bull’s grip, one of his customers, Sandra Mello, came to his aid. “When I heard the screams and commotion, I knew something was wrong, so I went out to help,” she said. Mello previously had first-aid training when she was in the Peace Corps and knew exactly what to do before the paramedics arrived. She applied light pressure and iodine to his throat to help stop the continuous bleeding.
“She was a godsend,” Siso said. “I am forever grateful to her.”
As the press conference was concluding, Siso reiterated the need for pet owners to restrain their dogs when carriers are delivering mail. He also mentioned that a few months earlier he had undergone some training sponsored by the Postal Service with a dog training company called Sit Means Sit. In the training, he learned the importance of using his satchel as the first line of defense.
“That training popped into my head when the ordeal was happening,” he said. “I’m so thankful for the satchel. It really did save my life.”