WINTER GARDEN, Fla. (FOX 35 ORLANDO) - Rain, heat, darkness: they don’t stop mail carriers. But alligators? Now that’s a different story.
Mail carriers stopped delivering the mail in a Winter Garden, Florida neighborhood, because of concerns about the reptiles. Now, residents are upset, saying there’s nothing to fear.
“We just have a lot [of mail] in our box, and that’s just kind of surprising for us, because we really haven’t expected that before,” said Cindy Mayorga.
The homeowners association said an alligator in a nearby lake bothered one of the mail carriers.
“The alligator was resting outside and looking towards where we were,” said Grace Echevarria.
It’s the first time someone’s complained about the gator; however, it’s not the first time the gator has scared a mail carrier.
“He was there delivering the mail and he looked nervous, and he says, ‘Look, look there’s an alligator. There’s two of them!’ I said, 'Oh they’re having babies.’ I thought it was a joke,” said Echevarria.
She lives in one of the 65 homes in the subdivision. She said they have all seen the alligators here and even named one "Harold."
“I don’t know how aggressive the alligator is,” she said. “I’ve seen the gator. The gator’s usually just doing his own thing. It’s a gator. "
But last Friday, a lawyer for the HOA says a mail carrier complained and the U.S. Postal Service stopped delivering mail there for two days. The Postal Service sent a statement to FOX 35, which read:
"The Postal Service’s goal is to provide the best delivery service possible. In addition, the safety and well-being of our employees is of paramount importance. In order to ensure the welfare and safety of our delivery personnel, the Postal Service has guidelines in place which address situations such as a threatening animal, which could cause injury to an employee. While our letter carriers are vigilant and dedicated, occasionally we are forced to stop mail delivery at an address. In this particular situation, we attempted mail delivery daily and local postal management worked with the neighborhood association to find a solution. Mail is currently being delivered."
“I don’t think it’s legal that they will hold the mail,” said Echevarria.
But today mail delivery resumed. Someone was with the mail carrier keeping watch for gators.
“I’ve never been scared to check my mail. I usually come here with my dog, and it’s usually just the birds.”
The HOA plans to move the mailboxes away from the lake. That could take weeks or even months. The other option is to trap the gators, but the HOA doesn’t want to do that.