Mail delivery suspended in Salem neighborhood following dog atta - KPTV - FOX 12

Mail delivery suspended in Salem neighborhood following dog attack on mail carrier, child

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SALEM, OR (KPTV) -

Neighbors in northeast Salem will now have to pick up their mail at a post office, following a dog attack of a mail carrier and child Monday on Abrams Avenue. 

Several neighbors received a letter Thursday from USPS explaining delivery services would be suspended until “this issue is resolved.” 

Salem Police responded to the incident and determined the mail carrier was delivering mail to a home on the 3000 block of Northeast Abrams Avenue, when a dog broke through a window screen and bit him on the hand as he was trying to get away. Investigators said the dog then ran across the street and bit a 10-year-old boy. 

“Negligent pet ownership is unacceptable and for the mail carrier and the child to be attacked is horrible,” said Ed Gutowski, who lives in the next door down to where the two German Shepherds live. 

Fox 12 spoke with the mother of the bitten child, who said she didn’t want to identify herself or her son. She did allow Fox 12 to take photographs of the bite mark on the boy’s lower back, and said he was knocked over in what she called a “scary” experience.

She also said that she believed it was an accident and said the dog’s owner had come over to apologize. 

The owners of the dogs did not want to go on camera, but said they are taking the matter “very seriously” and will take new measures to make sure letter carriers, the public and their dogs are safe.

The couple said, specifically, they will put a new mailbox at the end of their driveway, will get their dogs spayed and neutered, and will start keeping them in crates while they are away from the home.

The owner said he had accidentally left a window open after a hot night. He believes the dogs got excited as the mail carrier approached the house. His girlfriend said the German Shepherds are high energy and afraid of strangers, but are not vicious. 

But Gutowski said he’s witnessed the dogs behaving aggressively before.

“They actually broke through the fence - a couple boards - and we scooped up our dog and ran inside,” Gutowski said of an incident that he said happened about a month ago.

Gutowski said he moved to the neighborhood two months ago.

The dogs’ owners confirmed the dogs did break part of the fence, but said the boards along the shared fence are old and falling apart in some places. 

Marion County Animal Control said the incident was the dogs’ first offense. The owners were cited and will have to go to a hearing where further conditions could be imposed. 

In the meantime, Gutowski said he is too afraid to have his grandchildren come visit. He also said the lack of mail service is frustrating, although he does not blame the postal service. 

“It’s gas, time - we have to stand in line and say, 'Yes, we don’t have a PO box, but you’re holding our mail' - and it’s not their fault. They’re doing what they have to do to protect their mail carriers and I understand it.”

A spokeswoman for USPS said “safety of our employees is of paramount importance,” but did not say when services might be returned. 

A statement from USPS read in part: "We apologize to the customers affected for the inconvenience, appreciate their patience, and trust they understand the importance of protecting our letter carriers’ safety.” 

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