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A Hialeah, Florida man says a postal worker’s use of tear gas on his dog was unwarranted.
Michael Rhoades noticed his 6-year old Belgian Malinois, Barney, was writhing on the ground in pain. He rushed outside where a postal worker admitted to spraying the dog in the face with a dog-repellent spray.
“They have every right to protect themselves, but when my dog’s inside its yard, that’s pretty much where her rights stop,” Rhoades explained to WPLG.
The U.S. Postal Service said its carriers are only to use the spray when a dog attacks and that indiscriminate use of it won’t be tolerated.
“Last year, Postal Service employees nationwide sustained over 5,000 painful dog bite injuries,” U.S. Postal Service spokeswoman Debra Fetterly said in an email to Local 10 News. “The Postal Service’s priority is the safety and well-being of its employees, including our letter carriers who deliver the mail. Local postal officials are investigating this matter and will take appropriate action as warranted.”
Today, Barney is doing fine. Rhoades said he’s not looking for the mail carrier to lose or job or be disciplines, he just wants her to do things differently next time she encounters a dog.
“Safety has to come first, so if the mail is undeliverable because of an obstruction of a dog that may or may not be vicious, take a step back and say, ‘You know what, they can collect it at the post office. I’m sorry,'” Rhoades said. “I would have been absolutely fine with that. She wouldn’t have hurt my dog.”
Rhoades filed a police report and a complaint with the U.S. Postal Service.