By Cho Park
Neither snow nor rain nor heat will keep letter carriers from their appointed rounds, but an angry dog just might.
Residents of Cornell Street in Concord, N.H., have not had their mail delivered for more than a year due to an unruly pit bull named Levi.
One of the neighbors, Nancee Donovan, has resorted to driving across town once a week to pick up the mail directly from a U.S. Postal Service delivery truck.
“It’s not our responsibility to spend extra money to buy a post office box, or put up a mailbox at the end of the street,” said Donovan. “We just don’t think, as tax-paying citizens, that we should have to buy a mailbox to put on another street when everything was fine until this dog came.”
Tom Rizzo, a spokesman for the U.S. Postal Service Northern New England District, told ABC News today that Levi rushed the letter carrier “on three different occasions.”
“A pit bull rushing someone, as most people will recognize, is a cause for serious concern,” Rizzo said, explaining why letter carriers have been avoiding Cornell Street.
“It’s not uncommon for dog owners to minimize the danger or the risk to others,” said Rizzo. “Sometimes the dog owner will take steps to restrain the animal so it’s no longer a threat.”
In Levi’s case, however, the dog is so strong that it is able to break free of its leash whenever one of its owners, the Dales, takes it out to relieve itself, Donovan said. And because the Dale family’s yard does not have a fence, Levi is free to run out onto the street, she said.
The Dales did not immediately respond to requests for comment. But David Dale, told WMUR-TV that he will not be giving up his dog and that he is training Levi not to get overly excited.
After repeated complaints, neighbors said they had to take matters into their own hands. Three of them chose to erect mail boxes at the end of the street, away from the Dales’ home.
In fiscal year 2012, the U.S. Postal Service reported 5,800 nationwide dog attacks against letter carriers. Unfortunately, many dog owners remain unaware of the damage their pets can do, officials said.
As a solution in Concord, the Postal Service requested permission from the town council to construct a multi-unit receptacle about three blocks away from Cornell Street. But for the elderly residents of the neighborhood, walking across three blocks of icy road during wintertime is a hardship, Donovan said.
“This is an older neighborhood now,” said Donovan. “I just hope that they get rid of the dog, because even going out of the house under the threat of being attacked is just too much.”
Mark Saunders, a national spokesman for the Postal Service, offered some tips for dog owners to make life a little easier for their local mail carrier:
1. Place the animal in another room and close the door when the mail carrier arrives. If the dog is at your side when you answer the door, it can escape and potentially attack.
2. Don’t allow a child to accept your mail. Dogs are territorial and can potentially be more aggressive if they feel their charge is threatened.