The Postman Never Rings Twice: Postal Service Suspends Door-To-Door Mail Service For Whole Neighborhoods After Separate Dog Attacks

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

Jonathan Turley

12 thoughts on “The Postman Never Rings Twice: Postal Service Suspends Door-To-Door Mail Service For Whole Neighborhoods After Separate Dog Attacks”

  1. Neighbors let their 200 pound bull mastiff run loose, terrorizing everyone until it finally bit the mailman, which they denied. ‘It’s just a puppy’ was their defense. People on the block were labeled animal haters. The postmaster finally stopped mail delivery to our homes & we had to jump through hoops to have the mail service re-started. Neighbors moved out but now they’re back (2012) with dog who is now 250+ pounds. Another neighbor who had several dangerous encounters with this animal now says he will do whatever it takes to protect his family from this danger.

  2. I live in Los Angeles and this response by the Postal Service is not unusual. We have dogs roaming the neighborhood due to stupid neighbors who fail to adequately secure them, and although I may know they are the sweetest, stupidest dogs that can be, to the letter carriers they are all potential threats because most dogs hate the delivery people and utility workers that come by. As a matter of fact, they act very aggressively towards them.

    When the neighbor’s dog was out roaming on a regular basis, our neighborhood was almost put on the ban. The letter carrier contacted Animal Control and the owners were given notice to secure the animal or it would be taken. In the interim, if the letter carrier was the dog roaming in the area, no one got any mail.

  3. Woosty-Thanks for the UTube. I always wondered how my cat would react to a roomba. I always figured he’d run and hide cuz he is a “scardy cat”. I see the cat in the video is part siamese. They are smart and fearless.

  4. About 15 years ago in San Francisco, my partner & I responded to a call to a Radio Shack, where a Pitbull had been tied loosely in the back of a pickup by a customer.

    Suddenly a USPS delivery truck had pulled up next to the pickup, and the postman jumped out quickly with a handful of mail. The Pitbull, startled probably, latched onto the man’s neck and ripped out a rather large chunk of his throat, which we noticed on the pavement when we got there.

    We worked our tails off to keep that gentleman alive,kneeling in a pool of blood 10 feet in diameter. He of course died a few hours later.

    But what I will never forget – even more than the horror of the situation – was that as we worked on him, a Postal supervisor showed up on-scene and asked us if he was “conscious.” I said yes, actually, he was.

    Whereby the supervisor stuck a clipboard between the rescuers toward the man on the ground and said, “Here Dave. We need you to sign this. We’re gonna take care of everything. Don’t worry. But sign on the line: no press, and no lawsuit.”

    Whereby one of us grabbed the clipboard and threw it across the parking lot.


    So the final tally for that 60-minute adventure was:

    1. Pitbull – Shot & killed by Oakland PD
    2. Dog owner – Suspended sentence for being Felony stupid
    3. Radio Shack – Sued unsuccessfully for not having a “secure mail delivery entrance”
    4. Medics – E.R. shots for blood contamination
    5. Postman – Dead
    6. Supervisor – Well, he retired last year with full benefits.

  5. I don’t know what to think. If a postal worker is injured twice in the same neighborhood one would assume that worker would sue his/her employer for failing to provide a safe work environment. Since it is a free country people can choose to own dogs which are large enough to seriously injure or kill an adult. What are people supposed to do? I don’t want my tax dollars to go towards paying for lawsuits (sorry lawyers- I don’t want to pay your 30% no matter how hard you work on a case). I want public workers to be safe and I want their injuries taken care of. If some couple exercises their freedom by buying a large potentially dangerous dog and they cannot take care of it, and it cannot be legally destroyed, then I don’t think a worker should be forced to put themselves at risk. Whatever pressure is being put on the couple to get rid of the dog is appropriate. It is, by far, much better to suspend service until the problem animal is gone than to pay for medical costs if the dog bites again.
    All you dogs lovers out there- you have to control your animals. You chose to have an animal- the postal worker did not force you to do so.

  6. “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.”

    This is why. The Post Office gets nowhere with local authorities, so they’re forced to resort to these kinds of tactics with the hope that something will be done about the animal.

    Let me tell you this, if you’ve ever been attacked by a dog (I have) you will look at stories like this in a whole different light. The USPS is well within its rights to insure the safety of its employees, and until the dog can be PROVEN to have been removed from the neighborhood (and preferably euthanized) they should continue the current delivery arrangement.

  7. I’m always suspicious when I hear of a case that sounds this stupid, there is usually more to it than the media reports. I did a little googling. The post office says they have checked & have seen the dog on the property after they were told that the owners had removed it. Since both attacks took place off the property, with the dog running down the letter carrier, I can understand why they are not anxious to return to the block.

    I also learned that 3000 letter carriers are bitten a year & that “National Dog Bite Awareness Week” is coming up in a couple of weeks.

  8. What do you expect from the management of the Postal Service? This sounds like a punishment from grade school when the nun would punish the whole class if someone did something wrong and hope that the rest of the class would gang up on the culprit and “convince” him or her to own up. What happens to mail for people who are disabled? Do they have to have a power of attorney drawn up to have someone collect their mail for them??

  9. Rain, nor snow, nor gloom of night can’t stop them, but one mean dog can and will.

  10. You have to be kidding me…is this day the Them of the Viles of Civil Service….

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