by Robert Kimmel –
A United States Postal Service policy that is designed to keep postal carriers from harm had harsh consequences late last month for residents of a Tarrytown residential complex.
Some 200 tenants of the Sleepy Hollow Garden apartments at 177 White Plains Road were notified by the Tarrytown Post Office that their mail had been suspended. The reason: a postman had been bitten by a dog in their complex. Parts of the 15-building apartment complex have been dealing with the same problem over the past two years.
Suspending service is an action a local post office can make when it believes its employees are endangered at a delivery location. “When delivering mail or packages, to your complex, several of our carriers have had incidents with dogs, (pitbulls), living in your complex,” read the letter from the post office, signed by its Postmaster, Tyeesha Thomas and Supervisor, Ronald Russo.
The letter cited the latest incident as having taken place on August 14 “with a pitbull, when one of our carriers was delivering mail. Due to this issue, no mail or packages will be delivered to the complex.” It continued that residents would have to pick up their mail at the Tarrytown Post Office on North Broadway. “We apologize for the inconvenience this may cause and hope you understand our position,” it added.
One resident of the complex, Sheryl Cohen, said she had been without mail delivery for about two years because of a similar problem involving a carrier delivering mail to a neighbor several doors away. She said that the dogs she has seen in the apartments’ area were “walked by the owners on leashes. I never witnessed a problem.” Cohen noted that each apartment had a mail slot, and that there were no communal mailbox locations. She said she was seeking help from Congresswoman Nita Lowey to have mail delivery restored.
Samson Management, which supervises the property, wrote to tenants that it hoped to meet with the Tarrytown postal authorities, “in the near future….to find out what steps are necessary to have service restored.”
The USPS reports nationwide, “dog attacks and bites together as the most prominent threat to carriers. Last year, 5,714 Postal Service employees were victimized by dogs.”
USPS instituted National Dog Bite Prevention Week in April, “As a public service campaign that offers safety tips and emphasizes the need for increased owner responsibility in the prevention of dog attacks.”