Moose is a big dog, whose behavior has led to bigger headaches for residents of a quiet Hannibal neighborhood, who now must go to the post office in order to pick up their mail.
“We’re at our wits end,” said Postmaster Bob Baker of deciding to cease mail delivery on both sides of the street in the 5000 block of College Avenue. “This decision was made after consultations with our manager above us and the district office above him. This wasn’t taken lightly or some knee-jerk reaction.”
The delivery cutoff took place a little over a week ago after postal officials sent out a letter to residents in that block of College Avenue, advising them of their intent.
“I’m very inconvenienced,” said Ron Walden, who has lived at 5033 College Ave. for almost 25 years. “I don’t understand. This is between the post office and David Taylor (dog’s owner), and the whole block is being penalized. There is nothing fair about it.”
Two other neighborhood residents, who spoke on the condition they not be identified, also expressed their displeasure.
“There are a lot of retirees in the neighborhood who now have to get out to get their mail,” said one woman.
“I work and can’t get to the post office by 4:30 p.m. and I don’t want to wait until Saturday to get my mail,” offered another woman. “We’re all being inconvenienced for the sake of one person.”
The Taylors regret the situation.
“I’m sorry our neighbors are having to go through this,” said Kristi Taylor.
“They’re our friends,” quickly added David Taylor.
But the Taylors’ regret stops short of being willing to part with their 6-year-old pitbull.
“We’re not going to get rid of our dog when he’s done nothing wrong,” said Kristi.
At this point, Baker says Moose must go before mail service will resume.
“We’ve asked that the dog not be there,” he said. “At this point we’re waiting to see where this all goes. We’ve eliminated the risk (to the mail carrier in that block) for right now.”
“We just want to deliver the mail. I don’t want to hold the mail here. This situation has made our job a whole lot harder,” said Eric Smith, a supervisor at the Hannibal Post Office. “We’re not on our high horse saying if you won’t do this we don’t deliver, this is simply to ensure the safety of the people out there trying to deliver the mail. All they want to do is deliver and not have to worry about being chased down by this dog that has a history of doing that. It wasn’t a one-time thing.”
Page 2 of 2 - According to Lt. John Zerbonia, Hannibal police have three complaints on file regarding Moose. Two of the complaints came from the post office.
“One was when the dog came to the door of the house and acted aggressive,” he said. “The other was for the dog running at large, but when the ACOs (animal control officers) arrived on scene and contacted post office personnel, they refused to cooperate by signing a complaint against the dog. Since we (police) did not witness the dog running at large we can’t sign a complaint. We can’t pursue charges without someone that has actually witnessed it, if we don’t witness it ourselves.”
Zerbonia says the Police Department has attempted to mediate the situation.
“If a dog is deemed dangerous there is a whole list of things that the owner of a dog would have to do in order to keep that dog,” said Zerbonia.
Taylor has agreed to follow those guidelines, according to Zerbonia, who added the post office rejected that proposal.
“They are still going to refuse service until the dog is completely removed from the neighborhood,” said Zerbonia.
Taylor says classifying Moose “dangerous” would be inaccurate.
“He is aggressive to a point,” he said. “He will come out and get right up in your face and bark his head off, but that is as far as he goes. He never has bitten anybody. He gets your attention because he’s so damn big and barks.”
“I’m very, very wary of the dog,” said Walden. “He (Taylor) will say it’s never attacked anyone, but it has lunged at people.”
Both sides feel they have been the victim of misinformation. Taylor bristles at the suggestion he has laid in wait in order to turn Moose loose in his yard when a mail carrier is nearby. Postal officials reject suggestions the route’s regular carrier is to blame.
“In fact multiple carriers have had issues with the dog,” said Baker.
Taylor contends he was following city statutes, which he says allows a dog to be loose as long as it’s under the owner’s control and on its owner’s property.
“I followed the city of Hannibal (ordinances), and they (Postal Service) said, ‘No, that doesn’t work.’ We’ve got to follow post office rules,’ said Taylor.
“The city has different rules than what the post office does. Their decisions and interpretations are a little bit contrary to what we’re trying to do,” said Smith. “We’re trying to be proactive. I think they (city) are more reactive.”