VALLEY CENTER, Kan. (KSNW) – A group of Valley Center residents are being forced to pick up their mail at the local post office instead of at their doorsteps and it’s all because of a dog.
“You come up, you’re going into the house, you step up and check the mail and you go on in,” said Tina Payne.
At least that’s how long-time Valley Center resident Tina Payne and her fellow neighbors used to get their mail everyday.
“We received the letter that said there had been enough incidents that there needed to be a change,” Payne said.
The letter from the Valley Center Post Office explained to residents on a three block stretch of North Burns that mail carriers would no longer be delivering mail to mailboxes on the sides of their homes. Instead, the residents need to get a post office box or set up a curbside mailbox to resume delivery.
“It’s the safety of our employees,” said Valley Center Postmaster Dale Johnston.
Johnston said he didn’t have any other choice but to stop mail service to the 100, 200 and 300 blocks of North Burns after a mail carrier was chased a few weeks ago by the same dog for a third time since June.
After the first incident, Johnston said his staff sent out a letter to the people on the block and the dog’s owners to warn them of the situation. However, he said it did not seem to help.
“Then in the last part of July, again, the same instance dog came out chased the carrier,” he said.
Johnston said his staff sent a second warning to the residents. He said they also sent a letter to the dog’s owners telling them they had to get a curbside mailbox. However, Johnston said the problem persisted.
“Here a couple of weeks ago, the dog was out there again, chased the carrier for several houses,” he said. “Anytime people say my dog won’t bite, if they are protective they will, so we have to treat them as being a threat.”
Payne and her neighbors held a meeting on Saturday to discuss the issue. She told KSN on Wednesday that none of her neighbors have ever seen a dog wandering their street, and they are confused as to why the city’s animal control officers haven’t taken action if there is a threat in their neighborhood.
“If there is a threat, then let’s figure it out because first and foremost I have family that are mail carriers. I have friends that are mail carriers. I don’t want anybody in danger,” Payne said.
KSN called the Valley Center mayor on Thursday afternoon for comment, but has not heard back.
“I honestly thought that it would just all resolve. I really did and it didn’t. This is the resolution that we have been told,” Payne said.
Payne admits she and her neighbors are somewhat frustrated with the entire ordeal, however she said there’s not much she can do, but stay positive.
“If the answer today is curbside service, end of story, well, then how do we help each other,” she said.
Johnston said he is holding the people’s mail at the post office free of charge until next week to give everyone enough time to make new delivery plans.
The deadline for the neighbors to install a curbside mailbox, buy a post office mailbox or reroute their mail is Tuesday.