USPS stops delivering mail to Roanoke neighborhood after multiple “dog attacks”

Roanoke city police say the mail carrier was not harmed during the Dec. 3 "attack"
Published: Dec. 29, 2022 at 6:00 PM EST
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - Roanoke residents on Northridge Street NE are looking for answers after the U.S. Postal Service stopped delivering mail to their neighborhood.

For nearly a month, about 20 residents haven’t had mail delivered to their homes. Mail carriers won’t deliver mail to Northridge Street anymore because of “dog attacks” that neighbors told WDBJ7 happened at the opposite end of the street.

Residents received a letter in the mail, dated December 12, explaining why they have to pick up their mail from the post office.

“Recently [December 3] one of our carriers was attacked by animals that live in and roam the area on a frequent basis causing us to delay your mail service,” John Bell, manager of post office operations, said in the letter. “If the animals in the area cannot be contained, we will need to have an option for mail delivery.”

Residents explained the whole situation is causing a lot of frustration for families.

“I feel like our entire street is being punished for two households,” resident Brittany Hawley said.

“Nothing has been done,” resident Maurice Johns said. “Everybody has to suffer because of someone’s dog.”

With these feelings of frustrations, Hawley explained how neighbors have asked USPS, Roanoke City and animal control for help.

“We’re at a loss; we feel that we’ve done everything we can as a neighborhood,” Hawley said. “Still, no one’s giving us answers or no one’s giving us a solution on how to solve this problem. It’s kind of being all put back on us.”

In a statement to WDBJ7, USPS maintains a carrier was attacked and residents must contain their animals.

“Customers are required to secure their dogs to ensure the carrier can safely access the mailbox; otherwise mail delivery can be temporarily suspended,” USPS spokesperson Philip Bogenberger said. “The customer was notified that mail delivery would be temporarily suspended due to a recent dog attack. Mail delivery can be restored when it’s determined the carrier can safely access the mailbox without the danger of loose dogs.”

However, Roanoke City Police explained the mail carrier in the December 3 incident was only chased, not attacked or harmed.

“Since there was no attack, there was no actual bite and there were no violations found at that time or subsequently, we don’t have anybody to charge necessarily,” Lieutenant Susanna Camp said.

Johns explained this isn’t the first time mail service has stopped because of an incident with dogs.

“I have my mail sent to my daughter’s house or any packages like that because I can’t get it here at the current moment,” Johns said. “Even if I did, how long would that last?”

USPS stated in a letter to neighbors that if residents want their mail delivered to their homes, they will either have to install a mailbox on the side of the street or install a community mailbox at the end of the street. All neighbors have to agree on the decision.