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When the Mail Comes with Pepper Spray: From Animal Cruelty to Child Endangerment

February 11, 2020 Blog

A video portraying an act of animal cruelty by a U.S. Postal Service mail carrier against a family dog went viral last year and angered the San Diego community. However, Alfonso Galindo’s dog, Pupa, is not the only victim.

Pupa, a fluffy, friendly dog was behind a fence when the neighborhood mail carrier came up the driveway with a canister of pepper spray and proceeded to use the pepper-spray on Pupa. After noticing Pupa acting strangely, Galindo watched the surveillance camera and was shocked to see Pupa writhing in pain. Further inspection revealed that it was not a one-time attack. He counted 11 separate occasions on which the USPS employee sprayed the dog.

Even more troubling is that Galindo’s two young children are now suffering from respiratory problems as a result of the incident. The children, who play with, hug, and pet Pupa daily, were repeatedly exposed to repellent chemicals that lingered on the dog. Since the parents were unaware of the situation, the exposure continued over an extended period of time.

In a statement to KGTV, Galindo said, “It’s a total betrayal of trust. You would think the Postal Service is somebody you can trust.”

Unfortunately, this is not an isolated incident. Last year, a postal worker was caught on video pepper-spraying a friendly dog behind a fence at a Los Angeles home. In El Paso, Texas, home surveillance showed another mail carrier spraying a pit bull that was harmlessly behind a locked six-foot fence.

Mail carriers commonly carry pepper spray as defense against what USPS refers to as dog menace. However, if a delivery employee feels threatened by a dog, preventative steps must be taken to avoid an attack. Employees are to promptly report to their supervisor the name and address of the customer housing the dog. The supervisor must then immediately call the customer and request that the animal be confined during usual mail deliv­ery hours. USPS employees who indiscrimi­nately use repellent are subject to “appropriate corrective action.”

When repeated attacks like this occur, the issue goes beyond the individual to the organization who failed to implement an effective procedure. In this instance, the U.S. Postal Service failed to do their due-diligence and that has placed the public at risk.

Together with co-counsel Thomas Robertson of the Law Office of Thomas E. Robertson, CaseyGerry is representing the Galindo family, and the case is ongoing. To read more about CaseyGerry’s ongoing cases, visit our blog.