BILLINGS — A Billings family believes a mail carrier sprayed their soon-to-be 2-year-old dog, Sunka, with some form of self-defense spray Saturday morning on Buchanan Avenue on the South Side.
Katie Guzman said the family was inside the home cooking breakfast when Sunka ran inside "rubbing her face all over the carpet and everything." At first, Guzman thought her dog had the "zoomies," but Sunka's eyes appeared swollen.
Her 2-year-old granddaughter started coughing and then her husband touched Sunka's face, proceeded to touch his own and his eyes started to burn. That was when they knew something was wrong.
Guzman looked outside and saw her mailman.
“So I confronted him, and I was like, 'Did you spray my dog?' And he’s like, 'Well yeah, I did. I’m just really scared of dogs,'” she said.
Guzman called the non-emergency number for law enforcement and filed a report. Animal control said they are investigating the case.
Kim Frum, the strategic communications specialist with the United States Postal Service, said they are aware of the incident and are looking into it.
Frum released a statement to Q2 News:
"We are aware of a dog being sprayed on a delivery route in Billings. The Postal Service is looking into the incident.
"It’s important to know more than 5,400 postal employees were attacked by dogs [about.usps.com] in the US in 2021. The Postal Service routinely asks customers for their help to keep our carriers safe during deliveries. Simple actions such as restraining their pets on a leash, keeping them inside the house, away from the door, or in another room, or even behind a fence can be effective in reducing the potential for injuries.
"Our carriers are equipped with plant-based repellent for their protection and are always instructed to only use the deterrent with great discretion. The repellent consists of 0.35 percent oleoresin capsicum (extract of cayenne pepper) and 99.65 percent mineral oil, propelled by an inert gas contained in an aerosol spray can. The effects of the spray are temporary."
But Guzman feels confused as to why the carrier sprayed her dog.
“We have a fenced yard. Our mailbox is not even close to where he’d have to go by her,” she said.
Their mailbox is on the side of their home, down the driveway. The fence, where Sunka stays, closes off the entire front yard, preventing her from being able to reach a mail carrier.
Sunka is doing fine now, and Guzman said she doesn't have an issue with USPS, but just the postal worker himself. She hopes no other dog has been sprayed by the worker and said they were just lucky they were home when it happened.