ROBBINSDALE, Minn. - “It’s frustrating to me and it makes me really sad because those dogs are rescues. They were abused. We’ve done a lot of work in training them to get acclimated to people,” said Dirk Tedmon.
He and Todd Mulder are the owners of Macy and Charlie.
The 25-pound mutts, one terrier mix and one basenji mix, are very protective.
They love going for walks and playing in the family’s fenced-in backyard.
“Normally we have a bungee cord on the gate because the dogs can push it open,” said Tedmon.
But one day a couple of weeks ago, the gate was left open.
“We had had an extermination the day before," he said. "We had to keep our back gate open so they could move their equipment around.”
The dogs, in the backyard, heard the mail carrier, and pushed open the gate to run up to her.
“Around 10:30 we heard screaming and my sister and I ran to the front and we see the mail lady out there and the dogs are barking and growling,” he said.
Tedmon said Charlie ran inside. When Tedmon grabbed Macy, though, she bit his nose.
The mail carrier uninjured, left.
And without warning, Tedmon said, he and Todd Mulder's mail stopped.
They said a manager at the post office told them to show proof the dogs are gone or get a post office box for a small fee.
Both things they say they shouldn't have to do.
“Provide proof that we have either euthanized or gotten rid of our dogs or get a post office box,” said Mulder, the dogs' other owner.
“It’s unacceptable to me," Tedmon said. "I was the one who was bit."
“One of the dogs actually bit on her satchel, which is a defense mechanism we teach carriers,” said Pete Nowacki, a spokesperson for the United States Postal Service.
The post office says once there’s an attack, the protocol is to stop delivery until the situation is resolved.
“We want the dog no longer at the residence to eliminate the contact,” said Nowacki. “Last year we had, nationwide, 6,700 carriers attacked. Here in the Twin Cities we had 69 attacks in Minneapolis and St. Paul, which unfortunately puts us in the top 10 for metropolitan areas nationwide.”
Nowacki also says they have been pushing for dog owners to restrain their dogs so employees can deliver the mail safely. They ask that when they come to the door with a package, people place their dog in a separate room and close the door before opening the front door.
“It’s a real issue for the post office and we get that," said Tedmon. "But the dog didn’t attack the postal worker. And the dog didn’t even mean to attack me. It was a provoked response due to my physical reaction to the dog."
Macy now has to wear a muzzle. Because she bit her owner she was designated as a "potentially dangerous dog." The owners have filed an appeal.
Right now, they have to pick up their mail at the post office. However, they say Tuesday was the last day that they could pick up their mail. The post office says that they will withhold mail until the owner gets rid of the dog or gets a post office box.