updated 11/2/2006 1:01:41 PM ET 2006-11-02T18:01:41

Letter carriers occasionally have to deal with angry dogs or maybe even a spider’s nest in a mailbox, but a mean squirrel?

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Barb Dougherty, a 30-year Postal Service employee, said she was attacked and bitten Monday by a squirrel while delivering mail in Oil City, about 75 miles north of Pittsburgh.

“It was a freak thing. It was traumatic,” Dougherty told The Derrick newspaper. “I saw it there on the porch, put the mail in the box and turned to walk away and it jumped on me.”

She said the animal ran up her leg and onto her back.

“I eventually got a hold of the tail and pulled it off me,” Dougherty said. “No one was home at the house where I was delivering the mail, but the neighbor lady heard me screaming and came over.”

An ambulance took Dougherty to a hospital, where she was treated for cuts and scratches.

Slideshow: Animal Tracks: Aug. 4 - Aug. 11 The squirrel was killed with a BB gun and sent to a lab to be tested for rabies. Dougherty was given the first series of rabies shots as a precaution.

Postal officials said the attack is extraordinary.

“In about 230 years of postal history, I bet it is not the first, but I’ve personally never heard of another squirrel biting,” said Steve Kochersperger, spokesman for the Erie district.

© 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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