It’s difficult to comprehend a therapy dog being ‘maced’ in her yard, but that’s what happened to an upstate South Carolina man. A mail carrier pepper sprayed his dog and the owner is very upset Fox Carolina News reported July 31. The postal worker and the owner have different views on what occurred in the front yard of a Greenville home.
Stuart Young and his 5-year-old Dachshund named Darla were enjoying their front yard at their Rogers Avenue home when a mail carrier out of the Berea Branch post office on White Horse Road delivered his mail. Apparently, the worker forgot some of his mail and had gone on to the next house when she doubled back to deliver. Stuart was in the yard with Darla as she approached and was shocked when the mail carrier pulled out her pepper spray. She sprayed Darla in the face, then ran back to her truck after handing over the mail she had forgotten.
“It’s kind of cruel, I mean it’s border line animal cruelty to me. If my dog chased them or tried to bite them, I understand that, but you can’t just do that to anyone or everyone whenever you feel like it.”
The mail carrier tells a different story. A United States Postal Service spokesperson issued a statement from the carriers supervisor
“The dog was unleashed. The carrier had delivered to his mailbox, but returned with a package. When she approached him to deliver it, the dog interposed itself between Mr. Young and the carrier, barking. The carrier said, “get back” several times while Mr. Young was calling his dog. Because the dog was loose, advancing toward the carrier and barking, the carrier was correct in spraying the dog.”
The mace used by mail carriers in approved by veterinarians and the Humane Society and is called Halt, and is made of cayenne pepper and mineral oil. Both ingredients have been deemed safe for dogs. Halt wears off in less than 15 minutes. Stuart doesn’t know why the carrier didn’t just say something to him, as he would have put the dog inside if the carrier was that frightened by his dog. As for the safety of the spray, Stuart isn’t convinced. After being sprayed with Halt Darla suffered from puffy eyes, a running nose and became lethargic. He hosed her down after the mail carrier left and said he never received any warning that stated she was afraid of Darla.
An inspector from the USPS was in the vehicle during the incident inspecting the carrier’s route. The statement from USPS never mentioned an attack. According to policy postal carriers are only supposed to use Halt when a dog attacks. To do so at any other time is against policy and won’t be tolerated.
Mail carriers in Greenville may be a bit paranoid around dogs, as this WSPA News article from May 21 reported 31 carriers were bitten in Greenville during 2014, making Greenville the top ‘bite’ city in South Carolina.
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