A Los Angeles neighborhood is objecting after the Postal Service stopped all mail delivery to an entire neighborhood after a mail carrier was bit on hand by a dog at a home. It appears that the apparent collective punishment approach is not unique to this San Pedro neighborhood. Dozens of families have had suspended service due to the attack of Broxton owned by Gibran and Alisa Hawkins.
Many neighbors are angry at the Hawkins family whose 2-year-old, boxer-mix dog twice attacked a mail carrier. That would appear to put the animal in the vicious category under standard tort liability rules for strict liability. What is astonishing is that the family has temporarily vacated the premises under pressure and put the dog up for adoption. Yet, the Postal Service continues to punishment the neighborhood. Forty-four families have been swept up after the service went . . . well . . . postal.
What is interesting is that Broxton is being put up for adoption despite two attacks. However, the description of the animal does not include his notorious history:
BROXTON is a very affectionate and gregarious boxer mix. His majestic white chest along with his tiger-striped brindle shiny coat stops the girls in their tracks! Sadly, at a very young age he was dumped on the street to fend for himself. He loves the companionship of other dogs, big OR small! He has a respectful, yet goofy personality. Broxtons TRULY favorite past-time is playing with children because he feels hes just like a kid, but with fur and four legs. Broxton likes to watch his waste line. He loves the treadmill so much that he stays on without any leash assistance until he completes his 1 hour work-out for the day! He is good on lead, can sit for treats, is housebroken and crate trained. He is a typical Boxer Mix with a high energy level. An amazing boy, Broxton will be the perfect pet and running companion for an active family living in a private home. * * * A HOME CHECK WILL BE CONDUCTED * * * Before you consider adopting BROXTON, please understand that we are looking for an owner(s) that will long-term commit to giving him the continued obedience, activity, exercise, and entertainment that he rightfully deserves.
“High-energy” may not capture the view of the Postal Service.
The Postal Service said that it doesn’t matter is the dog is no longer on the premises or that dozens of families were not involved. They will continue the ban until they have proof that the dog has been permanently placed in another location — presumably that neighborhood will then be banned from service.
After reading this story, I found another case in Arizona involving a neighborhood where door-to-door delivery was suspended after a severe dog attack on a mail carrier by a pit bull. The pit bull was chained in the front yard of a home. I can understand the possible civil or criminal charges in such a case, but collective punishment of the entire neighborhood. What do the other neighbors have to do with the attack? All of the residents now have to walk to a collection box to retrieve their mail.
The pressure however appears to have worked in one respect. The families have now filed a class action civil complaint in the University Lakes Justice Court against the owner of the pit bull. They want the animal deemed vicious. I am not sure why the local police have not acted with regard to the animal. As for a determination that the dog is vicious, the common law would already view the dog as subject to strict liability under the “one free bite rule.” While you actually do not get one free bite if there are other indications of a vicious or aggressive personality, biting a postman would certainly meet the criteria. Moreover, the Postal Service would be better suited to sue the family (or cut off their door-to-door mail service) rather than engaging in perceived collective punishment against the neighborhood.
Despite the lawsuit, Dan Toth, the manager of the U.S. Post Office at Southern and College avenues in Tempe would not say when the Postal Service would lift its block on home service.
There seems a rather palpable level of passive aggression in the statement by Peter Hass, a U.S. Postal Service spokesman: “Until we are assured that dog no longer is a threat, the residents in the neighborhood will continue to get their mail the way they are receiving it now. It’s unfortunate for the neighborhood, but we feel that if this happened once, it could happen again. The safety of our mail carriers is our utmost concern.”
This whole affair sounds like a Postal version of Master Blaster from Thunderdome.
The only thing missing is the Postal Service driving trucks down the streets asking “who run Bartertown?”
Source: East Valley