‘Vicious’ dog stops the mail in Bristol

Bristol Postmaster Judy Glover delivered mail to residents on Baker Street last Friday with a police escort. Bristol Postmaster Judy Glover delivered mail to residents on Baker Street last Friday with a police escort.

Bristol Postmaster Judy Glover delivered mail to residents on Baker Street last Friday with a police escort.

Bristol Postmaster Judy Glover delivered mail to residents on Baker Street last Friday with a police escort.

Residents of Baker Street stopped getting their mail last week, after a homeowner’s pit bull gave the mail carrier a fright. The post office has since resumed delivery to the 20-plus homes on that street, but only after involving a police escort, installing new mailboxes and triggering a vicious dog hearing.

“The postal service is in the business of delivering mail safely,” said Judy Glover, postmaster of the Bristol Post Office. “Our best asset is our mail carriers. We need to make sure it’s safe to deliver the mail, for everyone.”

The dog, a 70-pound, 3-year-old pit bull named Buster, allegedly attacked a mail carrier while he was delivering mail to 10 Baker St., a two-family home. According to owner Josh Brightman, Buster is “just really big, stupid and hyper.”

“My 3-year-old daughter had opened the front door trying to look for me, and when she did, Buster just ran past her,” said Mr. Brightman. “He loves people and was just running up to him.”

What happened next turns into a he-said, she-said: Either the mail carrier used pepper spray on the dog, or he didn’t. Regardless, mail delivery stopped the following day.

“We were never notified it stopped,” said Ed Larue. “It just never came. I had to go down to the post office, and that’s when I learned that it stopped because of a dog.”

Mr. Larue had no idea Mr. Brightman had a dog.

“I’d never noticed it before,” he said. “I’ve never heard any barking or seen a dog loose.”

Vasco Castro lives next door to Mr. Brightman, and like Mr. Larue, had never had a problem with Buster.

“I can go up to him and pet him. He’s pretty friendly,” Mr. Castro said. “He’s typically on a leash on the front porch, but I’ve been seeing him out less and less.”

The post office takes animal complaints seriously, Ms. Glover said. Stopping mail delivery is the last resort. First, Ms. Glover said, she looks into whether there has been a complaint about the dog before, and any known history on it. Then neighbors are interviewed.

When the situation is deemed severe enough, mail delivery will stop.

However, this is not the first time Buster “attacked” a mail carrier. A similar incident occurred almost a year ago, when Mr. Brightman lived on Noyes Avenue. At that time, Buster was taken into custody by the animal control officer and kept at the animal shelter for almost a month. Mr. Brightman was summoned to appear at the police department for a vicious dog hearing.

Following the hearing, Buster was deemed a “vicious dog,” and Mr. Brightman was ordered to pay a fine, have Buster insured up to $500,000, and to micro-chip and license the dog. There is also a sign on Mr. Brightman’s front door, warning of a “vicious dog.”

Josh Brightman and his dog, Buster.

Josh Brightman and his dog, Buster.

Whenever Mr. Brightman takes Buster off his property, the dog must be on a leash and wear a muzzle.

“It’s ridiculous,” he said. “He’s never bitten or attacked anyone.

“It’s a shame that he’s got a bad rap because he’s a pit bull. It’s a stereotype that they’re bad dogs, when it’s the owners who make them that way.”

Buster was rescued from a home in Pawtucket two years ago, when his owner could no longer care for him.

“He’s honestly one of the best dogs I’ve had,” Mr. Brightman said. “He’s great with kids. Mya plays with him and pulls on his ears. He never growls at her.”

Ms. Glover and another mail carrier personally delivered mail to Baker Street residents last Friday, accompanied by a police escort.

“It’s costly,” she said. “We’re already short-handed and don’t want to have to do this.”

Normal mail delivery resumed Monday on the entire street, after Mr. Brightman installed two mail boxes at the edge of the property, close to the street. The mail carrier can deliver the mail safely from within the mail truck, Ms. Glover said.

“(Mr. Brightman) was very cooperative and we were able to get the issue resolved,” she said.

Police also conducted their own investigation into the allegations of Buster’s attack on the mail carrier. Officers served Mr. Brightman with another summons to appear for another vicious dog hearing, scheduled for next Wednesday, Sept. 25.

26 Comments

  1. Guy Guyverson said:

    oh what a shock… a pit bull. When I read the title I would have bet my paycheck that it was a pit bull prior to opening this article.

    As always…. “he or she is a great dog, I don’t know what happened”

  2. walterheisenberg said:

    The issue here is NOT the dog…it’s the POST OFFICE.
    You don’t stop delivery, not for even one day, to the rest of the street because of ONE DOG! Rediculous!
    The post master should be FIRED for dereliction of duty!

  3. Michael Barboza said:

    As someone who knows Buster, I have to say that I’ve spent some time with him and he has NEVER showed any signs of aggression. Just thus 4th of July my 5 year old daughter was playing with him and he was around a crowd of people. He barely made a noise, let alone an agrressive act. I own a Mastiff, and she has never even been outside of my house when the mail carrier arrives. She was barking from INSIDE , behind a closed window and a locked door and I received a notice saying that my mail wouldn’t be delivered. These mail carriers are a bunch of babies. You knew dogs would be involved when you took the job . Man\Woman UP!!

  4. DownTown said:

    A few years back a Providence postman had his calves torn off by a pitbull.

    As someone who more than occasionally has to enter homes for work I ALWAYS request that the dogs be put into another room so I can come and go without worry. I don’t know how many people say that their large dog is friendly and would never bite anyone. That is great but I’m not looking to become the first exception.

  5. jaqdadi said:

    From the ASPCA’s website, similar explanations of the breed are on other sites as well,

    “The pit bull’s ancestors hail from England and were brought to North America by English immigrants. These descendants were bred from the bulldog, which some breed historians believe originally served as a “gripping dog” for hunters of large game. (The term “bulldog” does not refer to the American Kennel Club’s English Bulldog. This more recently developed breed serves as a loyal companion rather than a working dog.) Later, bulldogs were likely used as butcher’s dogs and helped control large livestock.

    Eventually, these dogs were bred to participate in an inhumane blood sport called “baiting.” Spectators found it highly entertaining to watch bulldogs pitted against bulls, bears and other large animals. During these violent events, one or more dogs were expected to attack another animal, biting it around the face and head. The dogs usually maintained their grip until the animal became exhausted from fighting and loss of blood. After animal baiting was banned in the early 1800s, people began pitting dogs against each other, and the cruel sport of dog fighting was born. As it grew in popularity, enthusiasts developed a lighter, more agile dog for the fighting ring. Some people bred their bulldogs with black and tan terriers, creating dogs who were only 25 to 30 pounds. Others may have simply selected smaller bulldogs for breeding purposes. These dogs were the forebears of the present-day pit bull.”

    When they snap and attack, they are uncontrollable unlike other dog breeds. Most, the vast majority of other breeds are still controllable by their owner when attacking. Pit Bulls, for the most part aren’t. It’s the sole purpose for their breeding. There are thousands of reports of these dogs, even ones raised in a loving environment, turning on their owners or others for whatever reason out of nowhere. Only Rottweiler’s have a similar history.

    These are high energy dogs that need to burn that energy off regularly. Couping them up in an apartment, is a tragedy waiting to happen. Possibly the reason most attacks happen in populated areas and people in the country with lots of room have less trouble with them.

    How often have we heard, “Oh, he’s been no trouble for 6 yrs, I can’t imagine what set him off”, after killing some 5 yr old.

    Good luck Mr. Brightman, sounds like your gonna need it.

    • Michael Barboza said:

      That can happen for any breed of dog. And just for the record, Buster did NOT bite or attack the mailman in any way. He ran out of the house and was excited to see someone. He never growled, snarled or snapped nor did he lay one tooth on this mailman or any other. So your whole explanation from the ASPCA is great and all, but would be much more pertinent had Buster actually ATTACKED someone, and not been the victim of a mailcarrier who is afraid of dogs.

      • jaqdadi said:

        Well, I agree that since I didn’t witness the “attack”, I can’t comment on the validity of it. However, there are numerous examples of this particular breed attacking out of nowhere and the report mentions this is the second time. If the hearing proves it didn’t touch the postal worker then fine, it didn’t touch him\her. That doesn’t mean it didn’t scare them severely.

        Is that a human problem or is it the breeds problem? The breed was bred specifically for that purpose, that’s just a fact. They were also trained, inhumanely, to be that way as well, that’s fact. Can any dog be bred to fight, sure, I agree with that. They may not fight well due to their physique, but, they will fight. This dog was specifically bred to bite and not let go, except to bite again. That is why they are so dangerous. The way the dog is treated can determine it’s attitude. From a puppy, it’s a lot easier to trust the dog. Rescued from a bad situation, is like playing the lottery in reverse, most of the time nothing happens, but, once in a while… I wouldn’t risk my kids life with those odds.

        Throughout human history, dogs have been bred for specific purposes, for all kinds of reasons. This breed was bred to be mean, vicious and volatile in a small package. That is a fact. Over time, people who have been keeping them as pets have done a service to the breed by weeding out the more vicious ones and not breeding them at the rate they once were. However, look at that story that came out last week about the dog fighting ring with hundreds of dogs involved.

        Don’t get me wrong, I like dogs. I just think it’s better to be safe than sorry when kids are involved and wouldn’t own one of these with young children. When my daughter was 3-4 yrs old I took a chow mix my cousin bred. I can’t remember the other breed now, that was 13-14 yrs ago. This was a cute little dog that my daughter loved.

        Except it was as dumb as could be and didn’t take to training of any kind. I have had several dogs and trained them just fine. I even took it to a dog trainer. When I told him what the mix was, he told me it was hopeless, that mix had a bad history with kids and just couldn’t be trained properly. Only when they get old and tired do they make good pets. This dog constantly pawed and jumped on my daughter, scratching and biting at her. It was just playing, my daughters skin just couldn’t take it, even with trimmed claws. I would have had to keep a muzzle on it all the time and put paw muffs on it to keep it. I thought that was more cruel.

        She had scratches and bite marks all over her arms and face after about two weeks. I had to get rid of it. I gave it to someone who had older kids and a lot more land to let it run and burn off it’s energy. Years later when we visited it, you wouldn’t know it was the same dog. My sister took a brother to it, they were identical looking. She kept it for 12 yrs till it died. Her son was a couple years older and much bigger than my daughter and when it was a puppy, young dog, they kept it outside most of the time in it’s own house. When it got bigger and calmer, they allowed it in the house. After about 8 yrs it was basically a very large lapdog. Dumb as a nail, but, as lovable as could be.

        Unfortunately, the APBT was bred for all the wrong reasons and will take a lot more time to get past that history. Sometimes that means a dog may get accused erroneously, that’s unfortunate for the dog. Don’t blame otherwise good people, for being scared of something that has a bad history, it’s not their fault. Blame the ones that abuse and misuse these dogs. They’re the reason the breed has a bad name and temperament.

        • Joshua Brightman said:

          No it was not. You check your facts Mr. Bristol123. They were originally bred to be NANNY dogs to look after our children. Then, they were used in both great wars to help pull injured soldiers from harms way and to protect them til help arrives. It wasn’t until some selfish humans decided it would be a great idea to fight them. It’s always humans that muck things up. The breed itself is not dangerous, but when they are made to be it is done by abusing, yelling, starving and drugging them. They are not born violent, nothing is born violent, violence is taught, NOT BRED!!! Even the ANIMAL CONTROL OFFICER from the first incident admits that going thru with the first hearing WAS A MISTAKE. The only reason it is happening again is cuz the poat office is pushing for it. I was told that they were trying to AVOID another hearing, but the post office was being, and I quote, “Pains in the ***”

          • jaqdadi said:

            BTW, i’m jaqdadi, not Mr. Bristol123. You are wrong Mr. Brightman. You obviously don’t understand the animal world we live in. The APBT was bred specifically to be violent and tenacious.

            By taking another breed or combination of breeds that were bred to be more aggressive and mating them. Breeds that were bred to be hunting dogs, security dogs, and other such purposes, like Doberman’s and German Shepherds. Both those breeds make wonderful pets when raised properly, they can also be trained to kill on command as well. Then you weed out the more docile ones and repeat. Over time, you end up with traits that can be exploited for a certain purpose.

            All dogs are unnatural. They all have been bred over thousands of years from other animals such as Wolves, Huskies, Coyotes and other small, predatory animals by humans.

            Over time, the necessity of a purpose, such as a herding animal, were concentrated on and rebred and refined through specific breeding practices to obtain an animal with the desired traits.

            The fact that this breed and others like them are high on the intelligence scale for dogs, makes them an easy target, for people using their specific traits for the wrong reasons and consistently breeding the meaner ones and killing the more docile ones has caused them to have a genetic trait for violence, that can only be removed over time.

            The same traits that make them easy to train for violent purposes also makes them ideal candidates for other purposes as well, like working on front lines during war, without running away scared, because of the noise of bombs and gunfire all around them.

            Of course some animals are born violent. Tigers for instance, even one’s born and raised in captivity, can turn on their owners and resort to their primal instincts. Just one example proves this, Siegfried and Roy. Their careers were ended in 2003 when one of their own Tigers, well trained from birth by Roy, attacked him onstage and almost killed him. The Tiger went directly for his throat tearing his main artery.

            The fact that the only level 1 trauma care center in Nevada was just down the street is the only reason he is still alive.

            I suggest, you do some research before commenting on subjects you obviously don’t understand. Like the comment about being used in both ww1 and ww2 before they were used for fighting.

            That statement is just plain wrong. The APBT was bred specifically for violent purposes. To fight larger animals such as bulls, bears, and other large animals. They were especially good at it because of their bite strength, tenacity, and fearlessness.

            When that practice was banned in the early 1800’s in the U.S., they turned to watching them go after large rats and dog fighting was, long before even the Civil War.

            Dog fighting itself is nothing new. It’s been going on for thousands of years through different civilizations using different breeds. The APBT was bred by early American immigrants from other dogs such as the English Bulldog, because of their size and intelligence level, they were easy to train for it.

  6. Nathan Cheatom said:

    I can tell u I have known buster from the day josh took buster home. Buster has ben around all my children and has never so much as barked at any of them and he also plays with both my dogs everytime he comes to my home .

    Also as some one who works in other peoples homes on any given day knowing buster for even a moment u can tell hes just a big baby ! And not vicious in any way

    He is a vicious dog by any means

    • DownTown said:

      You can’t make an assessment of a dog’s nature from just seeing them for the first time you walk into someone’s home.

  7. Tonya Borges said:

    As a person who knows josh, and has raised and been around pit bulls and other dogs my entire life, I can say this is insane!! Any dog can be vicious! It is all in how they are raised, I’ve been bitten by more little dogs, Goldens and labs then I have EVER been bitten or attacked by pit bulls or any other bully breed! People need to stop judging animals cause of there breed!

  8. Helen Smith said:

    Not for nothing, but I think there is racial profiling going on here… seriously. If it was a Chihuahua or Poodle that ran out of the house that day barking yipping and snarling and perhaps biting, there wouldn’t be such a fuss and we all know it! ALL animals are never 100% under control…. and the same goes for humans as proven just recently at the Washington Navy Yard. We take risks every day when dealing with humans and animals in this world. A mailman is getting a paycheck to deliver mail and must realize that his job comes with risks… just like a trash man or road worker, etc… I have been around Buster with 10 grandchildren and several adults and he is truly a loving, obedient, trustworthy dog. And I’ve known Josh all my life and he has always had dogs, and he is a great animal handler….. so please Bristol, Make a stand and STOP the racism against Pit Bulls!

  9. Alexandra Levesque said:

    This is a complete outrage! A real attack should be the result of an animal being considered vicious! Not someone who is just afraid of dogs or a particular , highly misunderstood breed! ! its disgusting how the postal worker’s word is taken as being truthful, and the complete story, but the rest of the neighbors that have nothing but great things to say about Buster is just swept under the rug. In this particular case, more good things have been said about Buster then bad…but as a negatively driven society, that’s all that becomes the main focus! As someone that knows the owner and the dog, the postal workers description of Buster is so far from the truth! He is kind, loving, and just an excited, happy dog! I’ve seen him interact with people of all ages…including children! Not once showing an aggressive act! This animal’s behavior and personality is a result of the wonderful family he lives with…there is nothing but love in that household! ! ! I’m sure if a different breed reacted and interacted with the same postal worker, in the exact same way, this wouldn’t even be an issue! ! I’m hoping Buster comes out on top…and that the postal worker is able to live with himself if the consequences for buster end up being another heart breaking case!

  10. Bristol123 said:

    Let me add a few more details to this situation to help all understand a little better. This dog use to live in my neighborhood and I have witnessed it act aggressively on three separate occasions. The dog attacked the mailman in our neighborhood as mentioned in the article. It also trapped a neighbor in his car and jumped on the car door not allowing the man out. It also got loose on yet another occasion and chased men that were working on a nearby house into the house and into their work van. The dog than charged the Dog Officer and police
    that responded to the scene. Also, by law residents of Pawtucket are not allowed to own Pit Bulls so I question what type of person it was that owned it originally. Mr. Brightman remarked that it is the owners that make these dogs the way they are so I ask what do these facts say about you as the owner. Are you possibility just foolish, irresponsible, or naive. The dog is aggressive and was deemed that way for a reason. Hopefully this time the board takes a more aggressive action themselves. No one wants to see a dog put down but obviously the dog keeps getting out and putting people in danger. God help your poor daughter if she is attacked at some point and has to live with the scars physically and emotionally. You are knowingly putting her in harms way. There are signs that the dog is aggressive and you are ignoring them. You will have to live with yourself and your guilt if someone is hurt.

    • Pitbullfriend said:

      I witnessed the attack on Baker street and the dog was simply acting the way a dog does. He was defending his family and territory from an unknown intruder. Good behavior for a pack of dogs in the wild, but very, very bad for a domestic animal living in a neighborhood. This dog deserves a big fenced yard, a defined space so he doesn’t try to defend the entire street whenever he gets out. Keeping an energetic dog like this cooped up in a small apartment is cruel and leads to bad behavioral reactions like the one being discussed.
      Sadly, the owners description of misbehaving pit-bulls being the fault of bad owners is very accurate. Buster has obviously not been properly socialized and is poorly controlled and as a result he will likely be put down for his owners inability to properly train and control him.
      If Mr. Brightman truly wanted to care for this animal, he would already be constructing a proper fence to give Buster a place to run and expend his energy. He would have enrolled the dog in obedience training and would carefully obey all the additional requirements already assigned by the court in the previous vicious dog decision. Instead he “poo poo’s” the court, thumbs his nose at the victims and each day marches one more step towards Busters termination. In the end, Buster will be put down by court order, Mr. Brightman will consider himself a “victim” of pit-bull prejudice, and he will have simply contributed to that prejudice by continuing the bad dog stereotype.
      Me? My family and I have owned a number of Pit-Bulls and have seen their love and energy firsthand. I have also seen the devastation people and other animals have endured from a pit-bull attack. Owning a dog with this level of strength and energy requires a huge commitment of time and a resolve to training that few people are willing to take on. The result of a lazy owner is a dog that is a danger to others, and ultimately a danger to himself.
      My heart goes out to poor Buster, dead dog walking. His blood will be on Mr. Brightmans hands.

      • Joshua Brightman said:

        Are you serious? You have no idea what you’re talking about. And I do not consider myself a victim. Buster is the victim here. I have done everything required of me and then some as far as Buster is concerned. You should try and have all your facts and information before you run off at the mouth on a public site.

    • jrlevasseur said:

      The three occasions on that street happened a year ago and some of the was blown out of proportion, and even the post man admitted that Buster only grabbed his bag after he has pepper sprayed and hit Buster with the bag. Any dog who is hit with a bag is going to grab it whether playfully or aggressively. Any dog who is cornered and scared is going to charge someone if they feel as though they are endangered, but when they finally got Buster he had been cowering between a house and bushes. It’s all about his approach that scares people because he is a big dog and he runs at people and jumps not because he’s attacking them but because he is excited. I can understand anyone not knowing the dog being afraid to see him run at them, and I can’t blame them. Even the dog officer admitted that he should never have been declared vicious after the first hearing and that it was all a mistake and misunderstanding but it was too late to undo it. Buster’s owner has followed the stipulations that were set forth, and this was the first instance in a year that Buster had gotten out of the house and that was because his 3 year old daughter had opened the door. According to the neighbor, Buster did nothing viciously towards the postman and never left the yard. Besides that occurrence a year ago, he has never showed any other signs of aggression and no one has ever had a problem with him besides the post man. He’s done what he can as an owner of Buster, and he works full time to support his family and his dog so yes he gets cooped up in an apartment most of the day, but no one else is allowed to take him. The Dog Officers have said he’s done a terrific job since the occurrence and they are happy with how he’s handled everything since then. They didn’t want to go through with the hearing, but the Post Office pushed for it.

  11. jrlevasseur said:

    This is the first time since he was declared vicious that he had gotten out of the house, and that was not because any stipulations or precautions weren’t taken. The article failed to mention how the post office was telling everyone on the street that Buster had previously attacked a mail man in Warren and put him in the hospital, when Buster nor his owner have ever lived in Warren. This was why they shut the street down, because they assumed it was the same dog and told everyone the same story which led to the dog officer having to go to every house and straighten things out. Buster has never bitten anyone or mauled anyone; his approach is what scares people because he’s a big dog who gets excited and runs at people to see them. The post office also told neighbors on the street that they had been unable to reach the owner when they had already spoken with him.

    They say that shutting down mail for the street was a last resort, but how is that so? There was never a previous incident on that street, they never got notified of any issues with the mail man, so what happened before that that drove them to the “last” resort?

    Also it wasn’t after the incident that happened with the post man the first time that he was taken. He wasn’t declared vicious because of that incident, it was because he had gotten out a few times, had supposedly “charged” someone, and because he wasn’t licensed yet. In Bristol, all that needs to happen for a dog to be declared vicious is that they get out of their house on a few occasions and they aren’t licensed; nothing actually needs to happen.

  12. walterheisenberg said:

    what does the post office have to say about
    NOT DELIVERING MAIL TO THE STREET FOR A WEEK???
    Where is the accountability from the postmaster?

  13. focus said:

    Dogs in America act up because they know we won’t eat them. Barbecue a few of them as an example and I bet their attitudes would change.

  14. Joshua Brightman said:

    So how is it that it’s wrong, and I totally agree that it is wrong, but for arguments sake, it’s wrong to profile a person because of their race, gender or color. But then it’s perfectly ok to do it to a specific breed of dog. Yes, some idiot ppl fight pits, but that doesn’t mean that the breed as a whole is a mean and vicious breed. If someone said, all black people are criminals and gang bangers, they’d be in a lot if trouble. But not when it’s said about my, or others peoples breed of dog. But it’s the same thing, except people have a voice, and dogs do not. This entire human race has got things backwards I tell ya. Instead of putting the blame where it belongs, with those particular owners, they blame the breed, which is just as wrong as stereotypically grouping races of ppl together and calling them “bad races” IT MAKES ME SICK!!! My dog is a great dog, who lives in a house full of love and he loves everybody. His approach is a little scary to some, which I can understand, but he is misunderstood. DON’T BLAME MY DOG FOR OTHER DOGS OWNERS REALLY AWFUL DECISIONS, HE IS A GOOD AND GENTLE LOVING SLOB OF A DOG :-(

  15. Joshua Brightman said:

    And the post office needs to hold themselves accountable as well. Last resort they said. Yeah right, what happened prior and what steps were take.? NONE! Because tgere was no other instances. So “last resort” from the post master us just a STRAIGHT OUT LIE!!! It was the first resort apparently. Also, I’d like to know what idiot is training the postal wirkers that their first action in a scituation like this would be to HIT BEAT AND PEPPER SPRAY AN ANIMAL!!!! Whoever is teaching them this must want them to get hurt. Spray me with pepper spray, see what happens. If anything, these actions would escalate the situation. And, my dog HAS NEVER ACTED OUT AGGRESSIVELY OR BITTEN ANYBODY, PERIOD! My dog is very socialized, he is around a lot of ppl quite often, he LOVES PEOPLE. His excited and hyper approach is a problem though because it does intimidate most, and I UNDERSTAND. So, in light of this, I WILL BE ENROLLING BUSTER IN OBEDIENCE CLASSES ASAP. Thank you to all the kind words, and the support if most of my friends AND NEIGHBORS WHO ACTUALLY KNOW MY DOG. You are and will always be greatly appreciated :-)

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