Negligent dog owners create chaos for neighbors, mail carriers

An ongoing problem on West Lincoln Ave, West McKinley Ave, and South Mounds St. with unrestrained dogs attacking pedestrians and mail carriers has residents concerned.

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Over a year ago, Sapulpa Times wrote about one canine offender in particular, a pitbull named Kevin. During a period of almost 13 months, Kevin attacked seven different people. The last attack involved the mail carrier on that route. Kevin was finally declared a nuisance and was euthanized.

Still, the problem persists. There are two pit bulls that live in the 200 block of South Mounds, apparently unrestrained, and are allowed to run freely.

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Nearby resident Daryl Howard told the Sapulpa Times “I documented one of the two pit bulls leaving the yard and going after a bicyclist in the street; he was riding down the street, he had a bicycle beside him he was carrying, he had something else tied to the bicycle.” Howard described the cyclist as “distracted and couldn’t steer, balance, and take care of all the things he was trying to do coasting down the street.”

He said when the dog reached him the cyclist “sort of exploded in a mess.” Howard’s wife says she saw an incident where a pitbull came out of the yard on South Mounds and went after a pedestrian on the sidewalk. In both attacks, the owner called the dog, which retreated to its yard. Last week, a USPS employee walking down the sidewalk on Mounds St. was visibly shaken by a pitbull, unrestrained, barking aggressively.

The Sapulpa Times reached out to Pete Sellers, Director of Sapulpa Animal Control, for comments about the pit bull situation in Howard’s neighborhood. “One of the dogs is chained up to a tree in the front yard,” he said. “They (Animal Control Officers) have got pictures where they have gone over and checked them. They are chained to a tree in the front yard and it reaches their front door….I know one of the dogs we have picked up before.”

Sapulpa Times drove by the residence the evening of September 22, and photographed one pit bull out in the yard with no leash or chain. 

The situation is not limited to pit bulls. A pair of Great Danes that live at the 100 block of West McKinley Ave has on numerous occasions escaped the confines of their yard, according to residents in the area.

On May 22, 2022 one of the Great Danes came running out into the street where a nearby neighbor and her son were walking their Corgis. Although the dog did not physically make contact with the woman, she was afraid that the animal would attack one of the small Corgis. In the process of pulling her dogs away, she fell and hit her head on the pavement, requiring a trip to the ER. Sapulpa Times interviewed Stevie and John Cottrell, the mother and son involved in the attack by the Great Dane.

Ms. Cottrell said she does not walk their dogs anymore after the attack because “you never know what you are going to get,” she said. “I spoke with the owner, she gave me her word they were going to be restrained from now on. A few weeks later, my daughter and my son were walking dogs, they were in front of our house and the Great Danes came loping down on them.”

Her son John said: “I went a couple of weeks later (after the initial attack) with my sister around the block and (you know) the house with the guy that does the Christmas lights? They have four dogs in the back and two of them starting climbing up a fence. Two yards away, they are starting to climb the fence, I am like ‘uh oh, that is not good,’ so I started taking off and my sister was walking normal with her dog. I picked up mine…I have a rule if the dog is climbing a fence to get to you, it is not a good sign.”

Ms. Cottrell also mentioned a pitbull at the corner of Poplar St. and Lincoln Ave was loose during one of her walks and went after her dogs. That same dog attacked another neighbor who wishes to remain anonymous.

Sapulpa Times reached out to the local Postmaster for comments about the dog situation and was referred to Public Relations. Becky Hernandez, Public Spokesman for the USPS issued the following statement:

“The United States Postal Service takes very seriously the safety of our employees and the safety of the community we serve. We apologize for any inconvenience that may have been experienced by our customers in Sapulpa. While our letter carriers are vigilant and dedicated, occasionally we are forced to stop mail delivery at an address, if our employee is threatened by a vicious dog. Postal Service guidelines provide for various solutions to the issue of loose dogs, which could include temporary suspension of delivery. We consider all actions on a case-by-case basis. If a letter carrier feels threatened by a vicious dog or if a dog is running loose, the owner may be asked to pick up the mail at the Post Office until the carrier is assured the pet has been restrained. If the dog is roaming the neighborhood, the pet owner’s neighbors may be asked to pick up their mail at the Post Office as well. The Postal Service always seeks to restore mail delivery as quickly as possible, as long as our carriers can do so safely. Local postal management reports a recent uptick in dog incidents, handling 1-3 per week in recent weeks. In this particular situation, the Postmaster is working with a specific resident to resolve the most recent issue.”