Thursday, March 24, 2011
U.S. Postal Service letter carriers are reluctant to go into some areas of Fulton because they fear big dogs that sometimes run loose, Fulton Postmaster Roger Bounds said Tuesday.
“Some of my carriers are frightened to deliver the mail, especially in the northwest area of the city near William Woods University stables and on West 14th Street,” Bounds said.
“In the area where the attack on our carrier occurred earlier this month, there are so many dogs running loose my carriers are almost paranoid about going into that area,” Bounds said.
“I’m almost to the point where it is becoming such a safety issue that I am thinking about requiring all mail delivery to be curbside so our carriers can stay in a vehicle and deliver the mail,” Bounds said. “I don’t want to go there. But if we continue to have the issues that we now face something must be done. My carriers cannot be afraid to do their job.”
On March 1 a Fulton letter carrier was injured severely when he was bitten in the face and arm. He was knocked to the ground and attacked by two large pit bull terriers that escaped from a house at 303 W. 14th St.
Bounds threatened to stop delivery at houses were big dogs are located if they are deemed a threat to letter carriers.
He said the post office no longer delivers mail to the door at 303 W. 14th St. where Fulton Postman Tom Galloway, 54, of Jefferson City was injured severely. “Although the two pit bulls that escaped from the house to attack our letter carrier have been put down, the big dog on a leash in the front yard is still there. Because of that, we now deliver only to a mailbox at the curb at this address. We required the postal customer to install a curbside mailbox. But the letter carrier still has to deliver to the homes next door so the situation is still not solved,” Bounds said.
“The city needs to enforce the current leash law and make the fine steep enough to deter people from letting their dogs run loose or ban all dogs in the city,” Bounds said.
A Fulton youngster was bitten Saturday by a dog after the boy’s pit bull was running loose and attacked another big dog that was chained in a neighborhood front yard.
“I know there is an ordinance that a dog has to be on a leash in the city. But it is not being enforced. Also we need some kind of an ordinance that prohibits big dogs that are capable of harming people if they get loose. Inside the city limits there are kids walking to school and playing. We also have people walking to work. We have letter carriers, water and electric meter readers that go all over the city. They shouldn’t have to be looking over their shoulder everywhere they go,” Bounds said.
“Some people tell me their big dog is on a leash. I understand that. But what happens if the collar breaks or the chain breaks and the dog somehow gets loose. That is not safe. We are back where we started with dogs running loose,” Bounds said.
Bounds said he wants to be contacted by the committee set up at the last city council meeting to study the issue of dogs running loose.
“My carriers would like for some member of the city council studying the issue to come with a carrier and walk with them so they could see the dogs running loose,” Bounds said.
Bounds said when letter carriers call the police department about dogs running loose, the police say they will contact animal control.
Police report it is up to animal control officers to issue citations for violations of the leash law.
“I don’t want this serious injury to happen again, especially to my employees. We are out there every day exposed,” Bounds said.
Bounds noted that the city of Fayette does not permit the licensing of new pit bulls in the city.
Retha Nichols, Fayette administrative assistant, said the ordinance banning new pit bulls in Fayette was passed about two years ago because of problems with the breed in the city.
She said current owners of pit bulls were allowed to keep them only if they were registered with the city and kept them in a pen where they could not escape. “They also must show that they have insurance if the dog should injure someone,” Nichols said.
Nichols said pit bulls are the only big dog breed that is banned by the ordinance except for those that were in the city at the time the ordinance went into effect. “We don’t have a problem with any other big dog breed so we dealt with only what was in front of us,” Nichols said.
Pit bull terriers picked up by animal control officers cannot be adopted from the Fayette shelter and may be euthanized. Nichols said a woman who lives near the shelter works to save as many dogs as she can by contacting animal rescue groups.