Residents in an area of north Derby were upset this past week at a situation with the U.S. Postal Service.
Small white USPS flags were posted in residents’ yards on July 16 in an area north of James and Derby Streets. The flags were indicating the proper position for a curbside mailbox, and mail delivery to 32 homes was stopped.
A letter explaining that there had been “dog interference” and their mail would be held until curbside boxes were installed was among the mail being held at the post office, so residents did not receive the notice.
“First of all, the fact that they didn’t deliver the letter telling us that the mail would be held is ridiculous,” said one irate resident. “Secondly, they do not have convenient hours. When I called after three days of no mail to find out what was going on, I was told I could pick it up at the post office, between 8:30 and 4:30 Monday through Friday or 9-12 on Saturday. I work 8-5.”
A USPS regional spokesman said the action was taken to protect carriers from an ongoing situation with a dog getting loose in the neighborhood.
“Mail carriers are entitled to a safe work environment,” said Brian Sperry, USPS. “More than a year ago the supervisor talked to the dog owner, and he agreed to restrain the dog. This past week, the dog was out again.”
Sperry said mail was stopped to homes in the 1400 block of Georgie, 100 block of Ohio, 100-200 block of Maryland, 1400 block of Baltimore and a portion of the 1300 block of Baltimore.
He said a dog in the area displayed “aggressive behavior, growling, coming up behind the carrier and following him” on Thursday, July 12. The carrier called the city’s animal control officer.
Two residents who called the post office about the lack of mail delivery said they were told that a Rottweiler in the area had prompted the USPS action.
According to Derby Police Department records, the July 12 incident was the only loose dog incident reported in the area in the past year by a mail carrier. It involved an 11-year-old Sheltie – not a Rottweiler.
The July 13 letter to residents said mail would be held for 10 days to allow residents to get a curbside box installed, but Sperry said the USPS would work with customers.
“We ask all owners to restrain their dogs,” said Sperry. “It is unfortunate the owners of this dog will not comply with the law and it is now impacting other customers.”
Two Derby carriers have been bitten in the past two years, and 5,600 carriers were attacked by dogs nationwide this past year, he said.
“We have to balance safety and service every day,” said Sperry.
"11 year old Sheltie mistaken for a visious Rottweiler? one case per year of a carrier getting bitten? Hum, residents are mad because they have to have the Aesthetics and Natural Beauty of the neighborhoods cluttered with unsightly curbside mailboxes. Now they are considering restraining their dogs on a chain hooked to the new mailboxes! "
"You could have let delivered the said letter BEFORE you stopped the service. Also, I doubt very seriously that the dog was reported, since the Animal Control Officer could not substantiate this claim. A 11 yr. old sheltie and a Rot are not close to being the same size dog. Shelties are not normally an aggressive breed. This whole story doesn't sound right. USPS, do you have a lazy carrier? Sounds that way to me. No wonder people use the internet any more."