A FORMER York postman is recovering after a dog bit his finger as he was pushing a leaflet through a letterbox.

Mal Chappell, 65, of Huntington, survived relatively unscathed from a number of attacks by dogs - and even a cat - during 43 years as a postman.

But when he decided to make a little cash in his retirement by delivering leaflets, a dog inside a house in Tang Hall leapt up towards the letterbox and attacked a finger on his left hand.

“It was agonizing,” he said. “There was blood everywhere. It was ripped apart and the nail was pulled off.”

His wife Margaret, who was delivering leaflets in a nearby street, said she heard him scream but thought at first he was just “making a fuss.” Then she saw him and realized he wasn’t.

“He had put his finger in his mouth and there was blood all over his face and clothes and shoes,” she said.

Mal said they drove off to a nearby hair salon, Classic Cutz, where owner Terry Smith wrapped the finger in kitchen roll to try to stem the flow of blood before they drove on to York Hospital.

Mal said medics said the finger was too bad to be stitched and referred him to a surgeon in Hull to see if he needed plastic surgery.

He said the surgeon thought he would manage without, and he was now simply having the finger dressed once every three days, and taking a precautionary course of antibiotics, to prevent infection.

He said he had told police about the incident but the law did not allow for any action to be taken over dogs attacking people while on their own premises.

“However, the owner had been advised to put a metal cage over the letterbox in future.

He said during his time as a postman, an Alsation had jumped over a fence and bitten him on the arm, while another had been charging towards him to attack and only stopped at the last second after its owner shouted at it.

A little white dog had run towards him so fast inside a house that it had crashed straight through a pane of glass, and a cat had once bitten him when he was posting a letter.

“People say their dog will never harm anyone, but unless you are Professor Higgins and you talk to the animals, you don’t know what your dog is really like,” he said.