Prattans learned this past winter that deep snow and unplowed streets can stay these couriers (U.S. Postal Service mail carriers) from the swift completion of their appointed rounds, and so can loose dogs.

During one day last week, postal employees in Pratt were interrupted twice in their duties by threatening dogs. There really is something about the mail carrier's uniform that dogs don't like, Postmaster Kim Lange, who is also a former route carrier, believes.

However, Pratt's "leash law" should keep mail carriers and other walkers safe from aggressive dogs.

The ordinance is pretty plain, according to Police Chief Gary Myers. It's unlawful for anyone to willfully allow any animal or fowl to run at large. If the animal is off the owner's property or not under direct control of an individual, it must be tethered.

The ordinance is quite lengthy, he said, covering licensing, requirements for vaccination against rabies, confining animals in heat, noisy animals, limitation of the number of animals, animals running at large and prohibition of pit bull dogs in the city.

Violation can be expensive — allowing an animal to run at large can result in a $50 fine and $80 court cost, and if the animal is a "repeat offender" it can be impounded at the Pratt Area Humane Society.

Animal control officers and police officers are not out looking for pet owners playing Frisbee with their dogs in the park, Myers said, but if a dog is interfering with someone, chasing or being aggressive, officers will get involved.

Myers urged anyone who has problems with a dog to call the Police Department administrative number — 672-5551 — as soon as possible after the incident.

And, as a point of information, the phrase "Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds" is inscribed on the James Farley Post Office in New York City and is not an official oath or creed of the United States Postal Service.

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