Mail delivery suddenly stops in Independence neighborhood

INDEPENDENCE, Mo. — A group of Independence neighbors remained frustrated on Friday after the United States Postal Service cut off delivery to their neighborhood due to a dangerous dog.

Thomas Lloyd Barden, who has lived on East 1st Street Court South for the past several years, said he first noticed the issue two weeks ago.

“Saturday, September 22nd, we didn’t get any mail,” he explained. “We didn’t get mail the following Monday and didn’t get any mail the following Tuesday.”

After going days without mail, Barden went to the post office to investigate.

He later learned that delivery had been cut off to his neighborhood after a carrier reported a dangerous dog on the street.

“They filed no animal report and no police report,” Barden explained. “They didn’t tell us why anything happened.”

On Friday, 41 Action News spoke to Independence police about the matter.

An investigator confirmed that no report about the dog was ever filed by the USPS.

The officer added that after conversations between police and the post office, it was determined that a carrier had become scared when a mixed pit bull barked at them during a delivery.

According to the investigator, the dog has since been relocated to another home outside of Independence.

“A dog barking loudly is enough to stop mail delivery for an entire street,” Barden explained. “Why is it an issue now if the dog has been relocated? We should be back to our home delivery like everybody else.”

The United States Postal Service responded to the matter in two separate statements sent to 41 Action News.

In the first statement received, the USPS said a community mailbox would be built for the residents on East 1st Street Court South.

“Safety is a paramount concern for our employees at the U.S. Postal Service, and unfortunately, we had to suspend delivery to customers in that area until we could implement a safer delivery method for our carriers,” the statement read. “The Postal Service has decided to install neighborhood delivery units.  The boxes will be installed in the coming days at Postal Service expense, and delivery will resume.  We are asking everyone to be a responsible pet owner in order to ensure the safety of all of our citizens. Together, we can safeguard all from unnecessary and potentially devastating dog attacks. USPS appreciates its customers and strives to provide excellent service.  When mail service issues occur, we take steps to quickly resolve customer concerns.”

In a followup statement, the USPS said the decision to build the community mailbox would not be reversed despite the dog being relocated.

“Installation of a Neighborhood Delivery and Collection Box Unit not only provides safety for our carriers from potential dog incidents, but also adds security to the mail,” the statement read. “While we appreciate that the dog may have been relocated out of the area, the owners still reside in the neighborhood and the Postal Service has no guarantee the dog will not return to the home.  Ensuring the safety of our employees and customers will always be our first concern.”

Moving forward, Barden said the new delivery box would be an inconvenience for the residents.

“Some of our neighbors are elderly,” he explained. “It’s a matter of having to walk that much farther for everybody, including in bad weather.”

With the possibility of the new mailboxes coming to the neighborhood, Barden said he would continue reaching out to Senators McCaskill and Blunt for assistance on the matter.

“At this point, I’m trying to find out whether there’s any recourse,” he explained.

The United States Postal Service said it expected the community mailbox to be built sometime over the next few days.

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