Dog bite puts door-to-door mail delivery in jeopardy

SHELLEY:  After biting the mail carrier three times, a loose dog in the 300 block of East Center Street puts seven homes in jeopardy of losing their door-to-door mail and package delivery service.

“The policy of the Postal Service is to protect its carriers,’ said Shelley Post Master Charles Parkhurst. “I cannot protect my carrier when a dog runs loose and is not at its address, and it comes directly towards my carrier and bites them.”

 According to police records, the dog has bitten the carrier three times on three separate occasions. Twice on the heel and once on the hand. 

“We are looking into taking the dog,” said Shelley Police Chief Chad Purser. “There appears to be enough evidence to take the dog.”

Shelley’s dog, ordinance 5-4-1 defines a vicious dog as one who is “known to have bitten any persons or any dog whose temperament or habits create danger or injury to persons or other animals, or any dog that approaches any person in any public place or on any property not solely owned or possessed by the owner or custodian of the dog in an apparent or perceived attitude of attack or aggression, or any dog which has a known propensity to attack human beings.”  According to city ordinance 5-4-13, a person who keeps or has possession of a vicious dog within the city limits is guilty of a misdemeanor.

If the dog was taken into custody by police,  city ordinance 5-4-6 states the department shall give written notice to the dog’s owner, stating that the dog has been impounded as a vicious dog and that it will be destroyed within ten days after such notice. However, if the dog owner were to petition the local jurisdictional court asking why the dog should be put down, the court could order the dog to be spared and that the city show cause of why the dog should be put down.

“And they might take the dog,” Parkhurst said. “But in the meantime, I have to protect my carrier, and the customer should be able to get their mail.   And the only way I can do that is three houses up and three houses or complexes down, including the dog’s address, come to the post office and pick up their mail until they have a box installed at the curb.”

Apparently, these homes are not the first to lose their door-to-door service in Shelley. According to Parkhurst, all the homes on both Quigg and Brentwood Avenue had to install mailboxes at the curb because of loose dogs attacking mail carriers along those streets.

“I don’t want the mail carrier to get bit by a dog,” a neighbor Karen Mauseth said. “But, I don’t want to go to the curb to get my mail, especially when it’s slick because I have trouble balancing on ice.”

Other neighbors feel it was unfair that they are required to install a mailbox because of a dog owner’s irresponsibility. I wouldn’t mind moving it if it was for a different reason. I know carriers don’t like walking through the snow door-to-door delivering mail,” a neighbor Karli Versey said. 
“But the fact that they can keep a vicious, aggressive dog, and we have to move our mail to a box, makes me upset.”

Community Pioneer reached out to the dog owner, who wished to remain anonymous. She said, “Well, it was an accident because I don’t let him outside without being on his chain. Everybody walking up and down the street knows he’s on a chain. And, when he’s on his chain, he cannot get to the sidewalk or the driveway. But that day, he happened to pull his twisty thing out of the ground. It was the first time it had happened. Yeah, it was a complete accident. I don’t let him out without being on a leash.”

Parkhurst said that if the dog were removed permanently, door-to-door service would resume.

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