ROCHELLE PARK - The U.S. Postal Service has suspended delivery indefinitely for several residents in a Rochelle Park neighborhood after a dog attacked two mail carriers.
Ronald Zampella is one of four neighbors making daily trips to the post office to pick up his mail. The regular mail carrier won't deliver to his house or his neighbors after a dog living next door attacked the mailman.
"According to what the postmaster said, as long as the dog is in that house, I don't get mail," Zampella says.
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The post office says the attack on May 14 was the third time in a year that Max, a chocolate lab, attacked a letter carrier. The carrier had to go to the hospital for stitches, and that was the last time he delivered their mail.
Max's owner Joan Patti says she's as frustrated as everyone else. "It's terrible. It's not their fault," she says. "I'd rather them do it to me then to everybody. I feel bad for them."
A spokesperson for the post office says they only suspend delivery as a last resort if the safety of their workers is in jeopardy.
The post office says delivery could be resumed to the block if neighbors put up boxes next to the street so the carrier doesn't have to get out of the mail truck. The other option is for Max's owners to move him someplace else.
Until a compromise is reached, residents in this tight-knit neighborhood are helping one another. Cecelia Parciasepe makes daily trips across the street to deliver mail to her homebound neighbors. "It's been a month now," she says. "And it's been inconvenient for people. So I've been doing what I can."
When they let him outside, Patti now keeps Max tied up in the backyard. She says that should be sufficient enough to at least restore mail service for their neighbors, if not for them as well.
Postal workers carry pepper spray as a precaution, but the carrier says he didn't have time to reach for his pepper spray before the attack.
The first two attacks on postal workers did not result in injuries. Max's owners have received a summons.