Shelbyville Daily Union

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August 16, 2013

Dogs creating problems for mail carriers

The Shelbyville Post Office is asking for help from dog owners.

Postmistress Dawn Hagan said that mail carriers have had trouble with dogs lately, especially when homeowners are not at home.

“Dogs are territorial and don’t like strangers coming onto the property,” Hagan said. “They may be calm and sweet around family, but they see the mail carrier as an intruder and will attack. If they have teeth, they will bite.”

Hagan said a recent incident involved a dog coming through a plate glass window at the carrier. Other problems involve dogs breaking loose from their outdoor ties or just generally running loose.

She said that carriers have dog spray with them, but it doesn’t always work on the dog. In fact, it may make the dog more aggressive. She added that animal control and police have been called to help in some situations.

“We have a right to refuse delivering to a house that has an aggressive dog. We’re trying to do a job, but it doesn’t help when a dog is chasing my carrier down the street.” Hagan said.

The problem is not limited to carriers in town. Rural carriers have also had problems with loose dogs.

“Anytime I get a call, I respond to it,” said Shelby County animal control officer Brad Hudson. “We give people warnings, but if the problem continues, they will be turned over to the State’s Attorney.”

Hudson noted that recently enacted state law requires dogs to be kenneled or tethered with a proper tether with a 10-foot length and that is one-eighth of the dog’s weight.

“Most people do a good job keeping their dogs contained,” Hudson said.

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