Camera catches postal worker pepper spraying dog

MEMPHIS, Tenn. – A dog owner is outraged after his surveillance camera captured a U.S. Postal Service worker pepper spraying his dog.

Duane Cleveland’s surveillance video shows a postal van pulling into his driveway on Wingfield Road Saturday morning.

His dog, Wes, approaches – first on the passenger’s side, then on the driver’s side.

“He’s kind of wondering what’s going on. Is this somebody here to see my dad, play with us, what’s going on?” said Cleveland.

About 15 seconds later, the postal worker sprays a substance out of the window, sending Wes running.

“I saw her spray and then I saw Wes, like, pawing at his face. I’m, like, he wasn’t even doing anything,” said Cleveland’s neighbor, Shannon Chestnut.

Chestnut said when she finally managed to reach Wes, the postal worker had already backed out of the driveway and continued on her route without even delivering any mail to Cleveland’s address.

A neighbor’s surveillance camera shows the postal van sitting on the street for about a minute before pulling into Cleveland’s driveway, during which time, Wes sat patiently in the driveway.

“He was staying in his yard. He wasn’t barking, wasn’t jumping on the van,” said Chestnut.

Cleveland said he had intended to lock Wes in the backyard, but didn’t realize the gate was slightly ajar.

Cleveland said he got an apology from the post office Monday evening.

“The Postal Service called and expressed sincere apologies, said they’re very, very sorry,” Cleveland said.

Cleveland said they didn’t specify what would happen to the postal worker and he’s not entirely sure he knows what he would like to happen.

“I’d hate to see anybody lose their job, you know, my dog’s okay, but it just kind of makes you wonder about what kind of person you’re dealing with here,” he said.

The U.S. Postal Service released the following statement:

"We are currently reviewing the video to gather additional details about this incident.  The actions demonstrated in the video are unacceptable and do not reflect the efforts of the thousands of professional, dedicated carriers in our workforce.

The Postal Service strongly encourages dog owners to restrain their dogs to allow the carriers to deliver the mail safely, however, carriers are instructed not to use dog repellent indiscriminately.

Loose dogs are a serious problem for letter carriers.  They are the third most fre­quent victims of dog attacks; children and the elderly rank first and second, respectively.  When a loose dog is observed, a carrier should carefully consider withholding delivery.  A letter carrier should never assume a dog won’t bite."