Police have started an investigation after a mail carrier was recorded on video using pepper spray on a small dog that was enclosed in its front yard.
The incident happened Friday in the 4900 block of Gordon Avenue in Fort Worth.
“They’re like my children,” Sue Hunt said of her two small dogs, Thalia and Snuggles.
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Surveillance video shows Thalia, a 22-pound Bichon Frise, wagging her tail as a mailman walked up to the house.
He sprayed the dog through the slats of the fence not once, but twice.
"I was furious,” said Hunt’s son, Scott Young. “I couldn't believe it. He just sprayed the dog through the fence. The dog was inside and wasn't even able to get to him."
The mailbox opens from the outside of the fence.
Hunt said neither dog has ever escaped from the yard or bitten anyone.
When he saw what had happened, Young raced to the door to confront the carrier.
"The first thing I asked was, ‘Did you spray my dog?’” he said. “He said, 'Yes.' I asked why and he said 'because she almost stuck her head through the fence.'"
Thalia ran inside and hid under a bed, Young said. Photos he snapped afterwards showed the colored spray all over her.
"She was real red,” Young’s mother said. “My heart just broke."
They took her to a grooming facility for a good bath.
“I'm angry and I'd like to see something done,” Young said. “This mail carrier should have never sprayed the dog between the fence. It was wrong."
A Fort Worth police spokesman said the case has been assigned to an investigator.
Arlene Sanchez, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Postal Service, said she had no prior knowledge of the incident.
“We take these matters very seriously,” she said. “As information, a total of 5,767 postal employees were attacked by dogs in 2014 and the city of Fort Worth was ranked 15th in the country with 25 dog attacks reported.”