Residents worried after mail service stops

USPS stopped door service on Bristol street over safety concerns

POSTED: 6:07 PM Aug 09 2013   UPDATED: 12:00 AM Aug 09 2013
Bristol Mail service
BRISTOL, Va. -

For more than a week now, mail has not been delivered to Ezalee Eaton’s mailbox.

It’s not just her house -- most of the neighborhood is not getting mail right now. "I'm shocked, I can't believe it," says Ezalee Eaton.

Now this 86-year-old is worried about the medication she relies on daily not getting to her in time. "I'm diabetic," says Eaton, "and they send my test strips through the mail. If I can’t get my mail, how can I get them?"

News 5 contacted the post office; they say an inspector visited the neighborhood two weeks ago and counted 13 pit bulls along a single street alone. Six of those dogs are at one house.

That’s enough for the postal service to consider this neighborhood a threat to the carriers walking up to the porches.

Postal officials also contacted Bristol, Virginia's animal control officer about the problem. "Now that I have the addresses of the properties, they are most concerned about," says officer Deena Bouton. "My plan is to go meet with the owners and address this personally."

She's not able to release the specific addresses, but she did tell us animal control investigates complaints along this street every couple of weeks. "Basically on that street the dogs run at large, chasing people down the street," says Bouton.

She says most of the time the majority of dogs along the street are kept inside. "Everybody’s got dogs, but they keep their dogs up," says Eaton.

A postal official says they are considering a cluster box, where all residents would go to one location to get their mail.

Eaton isn't sure that would fix the problem. "Where would it be? I can’t walk to it, I can no longer drive a car," she said.

After talking with the post office, we learned mail service is returning Friday. However the letter carriers will be driving instead of walking, and they will not go to houses they feel are a danger.

A decision on the cluster box could come in a few weeks.