Mail delivery was restored to dozens of northwest Santa Maria homes after repeated issues with a loose dog resulted in the suspension of service for almost a month.
The restoration of mail service came after the U.S. Postal Service on Friday installed two community mailboxes to serve the 38 homes, which are located on a block just north of Donovan Road, between Thornburg and Depot streets.
Postal Service spokesman David Walton said carriers began delivering mail to the cluster mailbox units on Saturday.
One dog’s animosity toward a mail carrier has led to the suspension of mail delivery for dozens of homes in a northwest Santa Maria neighborhood. The suspension began June 6 after the dog charged at a United States Postal Service carrier who was delivering mail to a neighboring home, according to Postal Service spokeswoman Meiko Patton.
Prior to the installation of the new boxes, neighbors were required to visit the USPS office on Battles Road to pick up their mail.
Multiple neighbors had expressed frustration over the inconvenience and noted some of the neighbors received their prescription medication through the mail.
The suspension of mail delivery began June 6 after a dog charged at a USPS carrier while he was delivering mail to a neighboring home.
The carrier was able to defend himself by placing his satchel in front of his body and blowing his air horn, which scared the dog off.
Mail delivery had previously been suspended to the home where the dog lives after it charged at the same carrier in October 2018, when the carrier defended himself using pepper spray.
The front yard of the dog's home is not fenced off, and the dog was out loose during both incidents. Mailboxes in the neighborhood are mounted against the walls of the houses.
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After the second incident, USPS sent a notice to residents notifying them of their decision to pull the plug on delivery for the entire block until it received confirmation that the dog, a gray-colored pit bull, was permanently removed from the home.
Santa Barbara County Animal Services Director Tara Diller said during an interview last week that the agency was unable to remove the dog since it never bit the carrier and was properly licensed.
Animal control officers visited the pit bull on a few occasions, Diller said, but each time the dog was calm and contained in its backyard.
Since Santa Barbara County Animal Services was unable to remove the dog, USPS found an alternative solution in the installation of community mailboxes.
Vincent Aguillon, one of the homeowners affected by the mail suspension, said he was glad to see a resolution to the problem.
Aguillon said he was grateful for the June 26 Santa Maria Times report about the suspension of mail service, which he credited with expediting the installation of the community mailboxes.
“About two days later, a truck rolls by and they put these [community mailboxes] up, so we said, ‘Yay, alright!’” Aguillon said. "Everything is fine now."
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One person said the community mailboxes would still inconvenience those who have mobility issues due to age or illness.
Esteban Silva, of Bakersfield, said he and his wife came to Santa Maria on Saturday to visit his sister-in-law, who is of limited mobility.
“She can’t walk very well so it’s going to be difficult for her to get her mail,” he said. “Her daughter will have to come from Nipomo to help check her mail most of the time.”
Razi Syed covers Santa Maria City Government for Lee Central Coast Newspapers. Follow him on Twitter @razisyed
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