Rules in place to protect Postal Service workers from dogs

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by SHAWN CHITNIS & KREM.com

KREM.com

Posted on February 20, 2014 at 1:55 PM

Updated Thursday, Feb 20 at 2:00 PM

SPOKANE, Wash.--A KREM 2 News viewer contacted reporters not knowing what to do after the postal service stopped delivering her mail. She said the postal office blamed it on her dog.

There are rules in place to protect mail carriers.

The dog owner said her dog is harmless and she cannot understand why he is the reason she is no longer getting her mail. The Postal Service said they have clear warnings for dog owners and if you do not follow them then they can stop delivering your mail.

Brandie Gange lives in North Spokane with her daughter and her dog Morsel. She has had trouble getting her mail since late October of 2013.

Gange said she was told her dog bit a mail carrier and she would need to change where her mailbox is located.
 
“My dog's not vicious, never attacked anybody,” said Gange.

Gange moved her mailbox from her porch and onto the front fence of her house. The Post Office said that is not always enough. They said you still need to keep your dog tied up and 20 feet away from where you want your mail delivered.

"I would say it would be number one because safety, it is costly, it has a lot repercussions from being bitten,” said Robbin Darst with the U.S. Postal Service.

Gange did not understand why her dog would be such a concern for the Postal Service.

“My dog is not a nuisance, he's really a kind dog, he's a small bread dog,” said Gange.

Staff with USPS said it does not matter how big or small the dog is.

"A dog is a dog, for us, all dogs can bite,” said Darst.

The Postal Service has a three point system for notifying dog owners of any concerns. First, they give you a warning if your dog is running loose. Second, you make a written agreement to move your dog or your mailbox. A third notice stops your mail and in most cases you have to rent a P.O. Box or get your mail sent somewhere else.

"We want our carriers safe, we want them to be able to deliver the mail and not worry about their health or their safety,” said Darst.

The Postal Service explained that having your mailbox outside your yard might not be enough.

Some dogs are large enough to reach over a fence and can come in contact with a mail carrier.    

Gange said she was never clearly told what to do and she still stands by her dog. She said he did not attack anyone.

"I was very confused by what they meant as I had fixed the issue and complied with what their request,” said Gange.

The Postal Service was planning a fixed set of mailboxes for her entire street that would keep mail carriers far away from any dog.

The Postal Service said there were 3,000 dog bits to Post Workers in 2013.

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