SALT LAKE CITY — Neighbors on the 200 block of C Street in the Avenues haven’t received mail at their homes since late last year.
The big reason? A neighborhood dog had spooked a mail carrier, so the U.S. Postal Service pulled the plug on delivering to nine homes on the street due to safety concerns.
"Due to a roaming, unrestrained and potentially dangerous dog that roams the 200 Block of the C Street neighborhood, putting our carrier at risk, we were forced to stop delivering to mailboxes on the front porches of nine homes. Affected customers were notified of this danger in November 2020, but unfortunately the dog continued to pose a threat to our employees,” USPS said in a statement to FOX 13. The full statement can be read at the bottom of this article.
As frustration has been building, Patrice Corneli is now ready to take action.
The problem is, however, that she’s called and contacted just about everyone that could possibly do something.
She says mail hasn’t been delivered at her home since around August — around the time the issues popped up.
She and her husband have turned over every stone they can think of to get a resolution — from the mayor's office to Councilman Chris Wharton’s office to law enforcement.
“We’ve been trying to work with the post office and animal control and the police and have gotten nowhere,” Corneli said.
Neighbors have sent FOX 13 videos of an off-leash dog barking in a neighbor's yard. Some have described it as aggressive and sometimes snarling, although it is often nice to people who come to their door.
FOX 13 attempted to contact the owner, but noo one answered the door and no dog was outside.
However, our content partners at The Salt Lake Tribune reported that when their reporter approached the house, the dog was outside.
“That dog wagged its tail and did not bark as the reporter walked towards it. A large, black dog inside the house barked at the reporter through a window. When the dogs’ owner opened the door, the large dog ran onto the porch, where it barked and wagged its tail. It did not growl, bare its teeth or snarl," the Tribune's article reads.
Animal control confirmed that there is an active investigation going on right now.
The Salt Lake County District Attorney's office also said the owner of that dog has several pending charges against him. They include one count of animal nuisance and 15 counts of allowing an animal to go at large.
The owner of the dogs declined to comment because of the pending legal charges when asked by the Tribune.
While that litigation is ongoing, this isn’t helping owners of the nine homes on this street get their mail service back.
Instead, they must drive to a post office to pick up their mail. Until two months ago, it was downtown. But after that location closed, they now must go all the way from the Avenues to the Downtown Annex post office at 2100 S. Redwood Roadto do so.
“We have to drive all the way out to pick up our mail,” Corneli said frustratedly, “whether it be packages or letters from granddaughters or what have you.”
With all the confusion, Corneli is rallying the troops, saying that it's time to meet as a community and figure out what to do.
On Tuesday, she went up the street pasting signs on doors of homeowners to meet and discuss options.
“I just want to have a chat with everyone,” she said while putting tape on fliers, “to find out if there’s anything we can do now.”
The USPS has floated an alternative: These residents can install curbside mailboxes to replace those on their porches or next to their door.
“Curbside delivery allows the Letter Carrier to remain safely in their postal vehicle as they deliver mail, which is important in situations where a known roaming dog issue exists," the USPS said.
But residents would have to front the bill for said mailbox, and most people FOX 13 spoke with said that’s not something they would be willing to do.
Corneli says she just hopes anything can be done by anyone, but especially from the city or the Postal Service.
“Not getting really much of anything done by public officials has been disappointing,” she said as she shook her head.
The following is a statement from Salt Lake County Animal Services:
Salt Lake County Animal Services was notified of the issue of mail not being delivered by the public. All the charges being filed or evidence given for the charges was provided by the public and by Salt Lake County Animal Services. Animal Control Officers asked the USPS for evidence of the off leash dogs harassing their postal workers but none has been provided.
Full statement from the USPS:
The safety of our carriers is of paramount concern to the Postal Service. The Postal Service highlights safety initiatives and provides employees with ongoing dog bite awareness training. Nationwide, in 2020 nearly 6,000 carriers suffered dog attacks. In Salt Lake City, 11 dog bites were suffered last year by postal letter carriers.
In this instance, local management at the Salt Lake City Downtown Post Office are working with the customers in the community to resolve the issue. Postal Service guidelines provide for various solutions to the issue of loose dogs, which could include temporary suspension of delivery. We consider all actions on a case-by-case basis. If a letter carrier feels threatened by a vicious dog or if a dog is roaming the neighborhood, the owner may be asked to pick up the mail at the Post Office until the carrier is assured the pet has been restrained. If the dog is roaming the neighborhood, the pet owner’s neighbors may be asked to pick up their mail at the Post Office as well. The Postal Service always seeks to restore mail delivery as quickly as possible, as long as our carriers can do so safely.
Due to a roaming, unrestrained and potentially dangerous dog that roams the 200 Block of the C Street neighborhood, putting our carrier at risk, we were forced to stop delivering to mailboxes on the front porches of nine homes. Affected customers were notified of this danger in November 2020, but unfortunately the dog continued to pose a threat to our employees. As an alternative, we notified customers in December that we would resume delivery to mailboxes if they were erected on the street side. Curbside delivery allows the Letter Carrier to remain safely in their postal vehicle as they deliver mail, which is important in situations where a known roaming dog issue exists. Mail is being held at the Downtown Post Office and is regularly collected by residents at the retail counter until the boxes are erected and our employee can work safely.
As we work with our customers on a long-lasting solution, we strongly encourage dog owners to restrain their dogs and allow the carriers to deliver the mail safely.
The Postal Service offers these tips for homeowners to prevent dog attacks:
• When a mail carrier delivers mail or packages to your door, put your dog in a separate room and close that door.
• Teach your children and family members to not take mail directly while the family pet is nearby. The animal may see that as a threatening gesture.
• Obedience training can teach dogs proper behavior and help owners control their dog in any situation.
• The USPS is using technology to help keep mail carriers safe. When a customer uses the Package Pickup application on usps.com [gcc02.safelinks.protection.outlook.com], customers are asked to indicate whether there is a dog at the address. That information is relayed through the delivery scanners.
• If a mail carrier feels threatened, the owner may be asked to pick up mail at a nearby post office. And if a dog is roaming the neighborhood, the neighbors may also be asked to pick up mail at the Post Office.
The reality is any dog can bite and postal management must take immediate action when there is any threat to our employees. We apologize for any inconvenience that may have been experienced by customers living in this affected Salt Lake City community. For more information regarding Dog Bite Prevention, visit about.usps.com-dog-bite-awareness.