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Unleashed dog halts mail service to entire neighborhood

Shore Acres, Florida -- Service to homes on Mississippi Ave. NE and a portion of Huntington St. NE stopped two weeks ago, after an unleashed pit bull reportedly threatened the mail carrier on three different occasions.

Alexa Maney watched one of the incidents through her window.

"[The mail carrier] was trying to defend himself, throwing his mail bag around," she recounted. "He was hanging onto it, but swinging at the dog, and the dog is just charging at him and barking. A very aggressive dog."

By the end of the confrontation, she says, mail was all over the street.

Maney's next door neighbor, Karen Krampitz, has had two run-ins with the dog. One was just last week.

"I walked outside and I noticed a white pit bull in my yard. So I kind of ran in the house, closed the door," she says. "I know some of the dogs in the area, they can come in the yard, maybe play with my dog. But this dog, it's a pit bull, so you kind of get nervous, cause he doesn't come at you with his tail wagging or anything."

Krampitz is thankful her son and daughter, ages 3½ and 1½, were safely inside when the dog charged.

"I'm a little nervous," she says. "I'm nervous for my children so I do have to watch when I go outside, make sure there's no dogs in the area."

Anxiety turned to anger two weeks ago, when residents received a letter from the post office, saying mail was being stopped because the postal carrier felt threatened by the dog. The postal service says any time a mail carrier feels their safety is in jeopardy, it's their prerogative to decide not to deliver to a certain area.

Now residents on Mississippi and Huntington have to either put up their own curb side mail boxes, or pay more than $300 a year to rent a P.O. box at the post office.

Tammie Bryde just paid for a post office box, but now she's wondering if it was a waste of money. As a banker, she usually doesn't get out of work until 7 or 8 p.m. But, she says the post office closes at 5.

"It's been a big problem," she says. "Who wants to go and drive and leave early to pick up their mail at the post office?"
And Bryde says it's not just her. She says there are elderly people on the street, who can't afford to pay for a P.O. box, or even one on the curb side.

Neighbors sent a petition to the alleged owners of the dog, threatening a civil or class action lawsuit. They responded with a letter of their own, denying it's their dog that's been causing the problems.

Residents have until Friday to tell the post office how they want their mail delivered.

If they don't, mail will be returned to sender beginning Friday.

http://www.tampabays10.com/news/local/article.aspx?storyid=51676

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