DES MOINES, Iowa — One block on the east side of Des Moines hasn’t been receiving mail for nearly a month, and it is all because the mail carrier feels threatened by a few dogs.
“That one house can destroy the whole block more or less,” Daryl Bailey said.
Bailey, a 40-year resident on the 2500 block of East Walnut Street in Des Moines, says he has never had a problem with his mail, until now.
“Well, after about a week I couldn’t figure out why I wasn’t getting any mail, and that’s how they let me know,” Bailey said.
USPS told Bailey delivery to his block was suspended indefinitely because a mail carrier feels threatened by multiple dogs at a nearby residence.
“I couldn’t tell you if they are vicious or if they are not vicious because I haven’t had any problem with them,” Bailey said.
Channel 13 reached out to the mail delivery service and they sent a statement saying: “If a dog is on the loose, delivery for the entire neighborhood could potentially be affected. The postal service works with the homeowner and local authorities in the event of dog issues, but if the issues are not resolved or continue to occur, we have no other choice but to suspend delivery. There are three dogs in that neighborhood that have repeatedly been unrestrained and running at large while exhibiting aggressive behavior. Animal control has handled six dog-related calls at the dog owner’s residence since September of 2018.”
The Iowa ARL says they have been in contact with the dogs’ owner and are continuing to work on the situation until they get it resolved. While they have the authority to issue violations and impound dogs, they say they haven’t yet.
“We have not, and nor have we been able to establish that there is probable cause for a clear violation of what’s being reported. Meaning, that they were off their property or behaving aggressively,” said Joe Stafford, director of Animal Control Services for the ARL of Iowa. “Dogs are also required to be current in their rabies vaccination as well as licensing here in the city, and that has been an issue that’s been identified and addressed.”
The uncertainty is frustrating for fellow neighbor Shirlyna Richter who also, like Bailey, is having to drive to Pleasant Hill to get her mail.
“Picking up my mail, there still has not been any change of course,” Richter said. “I’m still just picking it up and they are still just leaving it on this reserved hold status. At this point, there’s been no discussion of resuming it.”
USPS told residents they will set up a cluster box down at the end of the block, but both Richter and Bailey say it isn’t a great solution since many others on the block are handicapped and cannot drive or walk very far. USPS continues to deliver mail at all the other surrounding blocks.
“There just could’ve been some communication about it. What’s the plan, when’s the date, what’s going to change, when do we need to still pick our mail up?” Richter said. “Other people probably need to make arrangements, or heck, even just be notified that’s what’s happening. I don’t think some people even know.”
The mail delivery system says last year mail carriers experienced over 5,700 dog attacks nationwide, and already in the first three months of 2019, Des Moines has eight reported attacks. They say the safety of their employees is paramount.