MARTINSVILLE, Va. (WFXR) — Some neighborhoods in Martinsville are having trouble getting their mail on a regular basis.

Residents living on the streets that branch off of Watt Street and Forest Street in Martinsville are being mandated by the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) to transition from door-side mailboxes to curbside mailboxes.

It’s either that or residents in these neighborhoods will have to get their mail from a cluster box, where a location has yet to be determined by USPS.

USPS cites a dog problem as the reason for this transition.

Record of postal worker being harassed by dog (see top highlighted segment)

We are currently delivering all addresses on Watt St. with no immediate plans in place to change the mode of delivery.  On Forest St., there has been an ongoing problem with a loose dog. Our carrier has been chased.  The majority of residents have moved their boxes to post-mounted ones for drive up delivery. We appreciate our customer’s assistance in doing so for the safety of our employees. 

Tad Kelley, USPS Spokesperson

“This cluster box isn’t going to be a small box. It’s going to be a whole neighborhood’s worth of boxes. It’ll be a couple hundred, easy,” said Mike Pashley.

The Watt Street Neighborhood, Stuart Street in the middle

Pashley has lived on Stuart Street since 2000.

He says this ordeal with USPS started in mid-December, which is when he says their postal carrier was harassed by a neighborhood dog, that the dog came between the carrier and their vehicle.

The following day, USPS sent a letter to all residents in the neighborhood.

“‘We were unable to deliver your mail and packages, due to an animal interference,'” read Ural Harris, another resident of Stuart Street, holding the letter he got from USPS.

The spokesperson for USPS (see statement above) says carriers are currently delivering to all addresses on Watt Street.

While no immediate plans in place to switch to a cluster box, the idea doesn’t bode well with neighbors like Harris and Pashley.

“That’s not very pleasant to walk if it’s raining or if it’s weather like today, cold and snowing,” Harris said.

“There’s a lot of elderly people and disabled people, and some people don’t even drive,” Pashley added. “For them to have to go to a central location is a major inconvenience.”

Written on the back of junk mail delivered to one of Harris’s neighbors

Harris said the letter from USPS read that there would be a 30-day grace period to allow neighbors time to set up a curbside box.

However, he didn’t get that grace period.

“I didn’t get any mail for probably a week until I went to the post office,” Harris said.

“We park on the street,” Pashley said, “so I don’t know how that’s going to affect the curbside boxes because you’re not supposed to block your curbside box or they won’t deliver.”

Pashley said he’s failed to get in touch with the local postmaster, and it’s not for a lack of trying.

He wants USPS to know the dog problem in the neighborhood has already been taken care of.

“The man was convicted of violating the leash law, twice, and he has since moved out of the neighborhood,” said Pashley. “The problem is solved. Why do we still need to put up these boxes?”

Many in the neighborhood are boycotting the transition, according to Pashley.

Some have put up boxes only recently, “just because they want to get their mail.”

Harris will soon be joining that handful of people, setting up a curbside box for him and his elderly next-door neighbor.

“It’s not going to be easy for me to dig one, but I’ll do it,” Harris said.

Pashley, however, will continue to boycott USPS and admits that up until Friday, Jan. 15, he hadn’t received mail from USPS in over a month.