Florida man says postal worker sprayed dog with tear gas

A Florida man claims a postal worker sprayed his dog with tear gas for no reason on Saturday.

WPLG reports Michael Rhoades said he looked outside on Saturday and saw the mail carrier spray his dog, a 6-year-old Malinois named Barney. "I come out and I say, 'Hey, did you just mace by dog?' because he was writhing in pain on the ground," he said. "And she's like, 'Yes, I did.'"

Rhoades said there was no need for the tear gas. "They have every right to protect themselves, but when my dog's inside its yard, that's pretty much where her rights stop," he told WPLG.

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According to WPLG, carriers with the U.S. Postal Service are told to use repellent only when a dog attacks and other use “won’t be tolerated. Last year, Postal Service employees nationwide sustained over 5,000 painful dog-bite injuries," U.S. Postal Service spokeswoman Debra Fetterly said in an email to WPLG. "The Postal Service's priority is the safety and well-being of its employees, including our letter carriers who deliver the mail. Local postal officials are investigating this matter and will take appropriate action as warranted."

Rhoades told WPLG that Barney is “doing just fine” and is not looking for vengeance with the postal worker, but hopes this will change her decision-making next time she encounters an animal. "Safety has to come first, so if the mail is undeliverable because of an obstruction of a dog that may or may not be vicious, take a step back and say, 'You know what, they can collect it at the post office. I'm sorry,'" he said. "I would have been absolutely fine with that. She wouldn't have hurt my dog."

A police report and complaint with the U.S. Postal Service has been filed by Rhoades, WPLG added.

Read more at WPLG.