Mail delays blamed on dog, Durham pet owner claims case of mistaken identity

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- You rely on the United States Postal Service to deliver your mail daily, but a Durham woman says she's beyond frustrated with delays in getting her mail since December.

An empty mailbox with no mail is what Michelle Nixon says she's been dealing with for months. "I got a notice on my door saying that my mail stopped because my dog almost bit the mailman and it's been ongoing since then."

She says this is all about a case of mistaken identity when it comes to her dog, Kayla.

Nixon is a school teacher and insists it wasn't her dog, but instead a neighborhood dog that runs loose, as she says Kayla is locked inside a crate inside her home during the day while she's at school.

"I'm not here during the time that mail is being delivered, so I still don't understand unless he can come through the steel door, why is it not being delivered," she said.

Sometimes her mail is not delivered for days, sometimes weeks. When it is finally delivered, she showed ABC11 how her mail came in a big bunch with a rubber band around it.

"I'm not receiving my notices as to when my electric bill is due or when the water bill is due," Nixon said.

She has called and personally went to her post office. "On six or seven different occasions they promised my mail would be resumed, but nothing has been resolved."

Nixon reached out to Troubleshooter Diane Wilson and the USPS representative provided this statement: "The safety of our employees and customers is the Postal Service's highest priority. The Postal Service highlights safety initiatives and provides employees with ongoing dog bite awareness training. In this instance, local management are working with customers to resolve the issue. Postal Service guidelines provide for various solutions to the issue of loose dogs, which could include temporary suspension of delivery. We consider all actions on a case-by-case basis. If a letter carrier feels threatened by a dog, the owner may be asked to pick up the mail at the Post Office until the carrier is assured the pet has been restrained. If the dog is roaming the neighborhood, the pet owner's neighbors may be asked to pick up their mail at the Post Office as well. The Postal Service always seeks to restore mail delivery as quickly as possible, as long as our carriers can do so safely."

Nixon said a manager at her local post office bought her a new mailbox and cement and when Nixon moved her mailbox from her front porch to the where the road hits her property, her mail is now being delivered.

"It's a relief knowing I have my mail coming now," she said.

Nixon is not alone as Wilson continues to hear from others with mail delay issues, none related to a dog accusation. The best advice is to document when you are and when you are not getting your mail delivered, and then report those findings to your local postmaster.
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