Hattiesburg family says U.S. Postal Service carrier sprays their dog

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - A social media post is gaining attention after a Hattiesburg resident said her dog was sprayed with some type of substance by a United States Postal Service carrier delivering mail.

Through home surveillance video, the Delgado family said they captured what appeared to be a mail carrier spraying their dog, Lucky, through a fence on Memphis Street in downtown Hattiesburg.

“Saturday I heard the dogs barking and I just happened to look at the security footage on my phone, and I saw that our mailman was reaching over our fence to mace our dog in the face, repeatedly,” Caitlin Delgado said.

“He walked away a little bit and sprayed him again through the fence when our dog wasn’t being aggressive at all," Delgado said. “He never tried to jump up on the fence. He never even growled at him. He was barking. But, even if he would have tried to he couldn’t get him over the fence where the mailbox is.”

Lucky is 4-year-old Stafford Shire Terrier mix. Jonathan and Caitlin Delgado rescued him from Southern Pines Animal Shelter in Hattiesburg back in November.

Jonathan and Caitlin Delgado rescued him from Southern Pines Animal Shelter in Hattiesburg back in November. (Photo source: WDAM)
Jonathan and Caitlin Delgado rescued him from Southern Pines Animal Shelter in Hattiesburg back in November. (Photo source: WDAM)

“I couldn’t believe it was actually happening," Delgado said. "It’s frustrating because they are a part of the family and to see someone abusing him. We had no idea. So we have no idea how long it’s been happening.”

They believe the mail carrier's actions led to burns on Lucky's body.

“Little scabs on his nose. I though it was the puppy playing too rough with him," Delgado said. "But after we saw the video, we realized that is now what it is. That’s actually burns. He has them on his nose, inside his ears, on his paw and his chest.”

The Delgados reported the information to USPS as well as the Hattiesburg Police Department. The U.S. Postal Service released a statement to WDAM saying, “We are currently gathering details about this incident and reviewing the matter.” The statement also says, “Carriers may use dog repellent to maintain their safety.”

The statement also said repellent carried does contain extract of cayenne pepper.

“We don’t want anything bad to come to the person who did this," Delgado said. "We just don’t want it to happen again. We just want our animals to be safe in our own yard.”

Lucky has an appointment with the veterinarian Thursday.

Below is the full statement the U.S. Postal Service released Monday:

"Thank you for bringing this incident to our attention. As soon as we became aware, management contacted the pet’s owner. We are currently gathering details about this incident and reviewing the matter. The United States Postal Service takes very seriously the safety of our employees. A total of 6,244 postal employees were attacked by dogs in 2017 and our carriers may use dog repellent to maintain their safety. The repellent consists of 0.35 percent oleoresin capsicum (extract of cayenne pepper) and 99.65 percent mineral oil propelled by an inert gas contained in an aerosol spray can. Within 10 to 15 minutes, the effect of the repellent will wear off, and the dog will return to normal. The repellent leaves a yellow stain on the dog’s hair, which is removable by washing. This coloration helps identify an animal if a check for rabies is necessary. The repellent has undergone extensive laboratory and field tests. Veterinarians have thoroughly examined it and have stated that it is safe, effective, and a very humane method of controlling animals. A Postal Service field test showed the repellent to have a high degree of effectiveness in controlling attacking animals.

The Postal Service highlights safety initiatives and provides employees with ongoing dog bite awareness training. Each year, we participate in National Dog Bite Prevention Week and release dog attack statistics from the previous year. In April 2018, we showcased technology that alerts mail carriers of potential attacks. The Package Pickup application on usps.com asks customers to indicate if there are dogs at their addresses when they schedule package pickups. This information is provided to carriers on their delivery scanners, which send alerts if an unleashed dog is reported in a delivery area. Below is a link to a press release with more information."

You can view more information here.

Copyright 2019 WDAM. All rights reserved.