CASTLE ROCK, Wash. -- A dog owner has accused a UPS delivery driver of kicking his pet. The owner said the delivery driver claimed he was acting in self defense.
The shepherd-lab mix in question, Merlin, has one blue eye, one brown eye and his owner says he's a sucker for a good back scratch.
"That's his favorite thing," said Lee Wilson, Merlin's owner.
But, a run-in with a UPS driver last Wednesday has Wilson demanding answers. According to Wilson, the driver kicked his dog in the throat after the driver said the dog lunged at him.
"He did not charge after the UPS guy, nor did he charge after his truck," Wilson said.
Wilson said Merlin simply barked at the driver when he came to the door. That's when Wilson claims the driver kicked Merlin.
"No warning, no nothing. He just simply kicked Merlin in the throat. Do UPS workers really have the right to kick your animal?" said Wilson.
Wilson said he wants a sincere apology from UPS and to make sure it doesn't happen again to any other dog in the neighborhood.
"I do not believe in animal abuse. The truth is, I don't buy his [the delivery driver's] story," Wilson said.
"I'm sorry to hear about the purported incident involving our driver and a customer's dog," said Dan McMackin, spokesman with UPS in an email to KGW.
McMackin said he would have the local operations manager reach out to Wilson to discuss what happened.
"As far as our drivers' safety related to dog bites, we instruct our drivers to follow some common-sense but key measures when approached by dogs. One of those measures is obviously to defend themselves as best they can if being attacked, and to try to avoid an attack in the first place if possible," McMackin added.
Wilson's neighbor, Jim Cloke, lives a few houses down and said he doesn't blame the UPS driver one bit.
"No matter who stops there the first thing that dog does when the door opens is the dog comes out and lunges at you," Cloke said. "If I were a UPS driver, they would just have to come and pick up [their packages] and that's all there is to it."
Other neighbors, like dog owner Rachel Crowe, said it's a case-by-case basis.
"If a dog lunged at me, of course I would defend myself, but if it didn't lunge at me, well then, I would be mad. I would be really mad," she said.
McMackin added that UPS asks its customers to keep pets under control when drivers make deliveries to "try and avoid the situation to begin with."
On Monday night, UPS said the driver, who is also a dog owner, wants to have a meet-and-greet with Merlin so a similar incident doesn't happen again.