The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Local News

February 9, 2010

Athens mail carrier stands down dog

About letter carriers, it is sometimes said, that neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.

The saying makes no mention of pit bulls. Maybe it should.

Donna Wheat of Athens said she was walking her dogs — a little white Maltese named Mollie and a brown and tan Yorkipoo named Reece — on North Beaty Street on Saturday morning, when her small dogs began barking at a pit bull terrier on the loose.

As Wheat’s dogs worked themselves into a frenzy, they wrapped themselves around a tree, leaving Wheat to try to untangle them while, at the same time, keeping her eyes on the pit bull.

The pit bull suddenly charged her and knocked her to the ground.

“As I got back up, all I could think about was my little dogs,” Wheat said. “I knew that if it got a hold of one of them, that was it.”

This is where “neither snow, nor rain, nor heat …” comes in.

Letter carrier Roy Neutze saw the pit bull topple Wheat, so he picked up a stick and came after it. A neighbor joined in the standoff against the dog, and the pit bull backed off. The police were called and the owner found. Apparently, the pit bull had gotten out of its fenced yard.

Wheat wanted to thank her letter carrier for being there.

“It was just wonderful,” she said.

Still, she wonders if she did anything to provoke the pit bull, such as make eye contact with it.

Although many people believe pit bull breeds are more likely than others to bite, the American Veterinary Medical Association says there is little scientific evidence to support the claim. The association offers this advice if you are threatened by a dog:

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