EL PASO, Texas (KFOX14) — A northeast El Paso family is demanding action after video captured a mailman macing their dog for seemingly no reason.
KFOX14 Investigates took their concerns to the post office and animal cruelty unit.
Home surveillance video captures the moments the mail carrier maces the pit bull, while the animal was locked on the other side of a 6-foot fence.
"We want to see what they're up to,” said Donald Ornales.
Ornales and his wife, Monica Marquez installed surveillance cameras around their home, to keep a watchful eye on their house full of teenagers.
They never expected to see their dog being maced by the mailman through the fence.
“We all instantly got really upset,” said Ornales.
Marquez says, her dog Chance's face was red and puffy.
Puzzled, they checked the cameras for clues and saw the mail carrier delivering more than just mail, when he maces Chance through the fence.
“I instantly started crying, like that's my dog,” she said.
A dog's yard is his domain and a place where Chance is normally happy to bounce on the trampoline.
And yes, bark at the mailman.
“He's a dog, he's going to bark at strangers on the other side of the fence,” said Marquez.
The video shows the letter carrier placing the mail in the box, which hangs on the outside of the fence.
“My dog was nowhere near getting out of the fence. There's locks on my gate. It's a 6-foot-tall fence,” said Marquez.
The video shows him walking out of frame. Other cameras show he went to his truck. Then he returns to the family's home and maces Chance in the face.
“There is no way my dog would have been able to attack him,” said Marquez.
The mailman also takes his time to wipe down the fence.
In total, he returns to the family's house five times in a span of 20 minutes.
“I would take complete responsibility if it had been the opposite and my dog had been on the other side of the fence,” said Marquez.
The family says, they noticed a change in Chance from his normal demeanor from, “happy, wanna lick you, wagging his tail, jumping on you to give you hugs and kisses,” said Marquez.
“The following week, to month he lost 10 pounds,” said Ornalezs.
Chance has now been to the vet five times, to get his eyes flushed.
He continues to have drainage issues with his eyes.
The family also filed a police report.
“They sent someone from the animal cruelty unit,” said Marquez.
KFOX14 Investigates asked police what happened with the investigation.
A spokesperson for EPPD said, "The case was reviewed by the DA's office; after consultation with them it was determined that the case should be unfounded."
“I want cruelty charges,” said Marquez. “I don't understand why nothing is being done. My dog felt pain, it was cruel.”
The family also wants changes from the U.S. Postal Service.
“Especially (mailman) being taken off this route at least,” said Ornales.
Since mail carriers are union they bid for their routes. The family says they were told a potential change couldn't happen until the next bid cycle.
In 2017, the United States Postal Service reported more than 6,000 letter carriers were attacked by dogs.
For that reason, the USPS allows employees to carry pepper spray.
But its policy clearly states:
"Use the repellent only when a dog attacks... Indiscriminate use of the repellent will not be tolerated and could result in corrective action, up to and including removal."
We asked the postal service what could happen in this case. Spokeswoman Becky Hernandez thanked KFOX14 for bringing the video.
"We are currently reviewing it to gather additional details about this incident. Based upon our findings, appropriate corrective action will be taken. Our carriers are equipped with plant-based repellent for their protection and are always instructed to only use the deterrent with great discretion,” said Becky Hernandez, USPS spokesperson.
Marquez said after months of being ignored, the local office contacted her.
“They said they're sorry and they are going to retrain their carriers.
KFOX14 Investigates asked is that acceptable to you?
“No," said Marquez.
She wants answers for Chance.
“I just want to ask him, ‘why you single out one dog?’” said Marquez.
KFOX14 Investigates also asked the post office what steps a customer could take to get a mail carrier moved off their route. We also asked what type of training carriers receive to deal with dog encounters.
We have not yet received a response but are working on getting those answers.