Postal delivery halted in neighborhood after dog bites carrier - WNEM TV 5

Postal delivery halted in neighborhood after dog bites carrier

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STILWELL, KS (KCTV) -

A Stilwell neighborhood stopped getting mail delivered when a dog bit a postal carrier.

About 50 residents in the area of Blue Ridge and Fuller streets in the Crossgate neighborhood were getting their mail delivered to their homes.

A spokesman for the U.S. Postal Service admits they could have handled notification better, but the federal agency had no choice but to pull the carrier after the dog attack.

"We apologize for the inconvenience," Richard Watkins, spokesman for the postal service, told KCTV5. "We did not communicate that effectively. That's on us."

The pit bull attacked the carrier several weeks ago. The postal service temporarily installed cluster boxes for residents.

But that didn't set well with the aging and ailing in the neighborhood.

Henry Stewart suffers from the lung disease, COPD. He said being able to get his mail delivered to his door step is important to him and other older residents especially those who are infirm..

He said the postal service didn't deliver mail to houses for about three weeks. He said he understands that the postal service must protect its carriers, but said it wasn't fair to punish the entire neighborhood.

"If you have a dog, it's like having a pistol. You've got responsibility. If I shoot somebody, they're not going to punish the whole neighborhood," Stewart said.

Watkins said the agency has reassessd its decision and "beginning tomorrow most of those residents will have their door-to-door delivery once again." He said the postal service will make arrangements to ensure anyone with disabilities readily receives their mail.

With the nicer weather, people forget to lock their doors, keep their gates shut and their dogs on leashes. Dogs have been known to bust through screen doors or shatter glass to get at strangers.

"Dogs are just doing what comes naturally to them. They're protecting their turf," Watkins said.

Parents are asked not to have children take mail directly to a letter carrier in the presence of the family pet because the dog may see the mail exchange as a threatening gesture.

The postal service released last week the top 30 cities where dog bites and attacks happen most regularly. Number 10 on the list was Kansas City, MO. Last year, 5,581 postal employees were attacked including 33 in KCMO.

"There's a myth we often hear at the postal service: don't worry my dog won't bite," said postal service manager of safety Linda DeCArlo. "Dog attacks are a nationwide issue and not just a postal problem. Any dog can bite and all attacks are preventable through responsible pet ownership."

Anyone believed to have a vicious dog or a dog that runs loose is then asked to get their mail at their local postal office.

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