Angelus Oaks couple says UPS driver taunted, punched their dog

Company disputes account, says delivery man felt threatened

ANGELUS OAKS — An Angelus Oaks couple is posting warnings to dog owners who may receive packages. They say a UPS deliveryman assaulted their 1 1/2-year-old 12-pound Scottish terrier mix, Douglas.

Karen McLaughlin said she witnessed the mid-June attack after she exited the shower and heard some commotion on the front porch of the mountain home she shares with her husband, Robert.

McLaughlin said the delivery man was taunting her dog — who is a rescue — with a bubble-wrapped envelope while delivering it to the couple’s home.

Each time the dog would jump for the envelope, McLaughlin said, the UPS employee punched her dog with a closed-fist about four or five times.

“I went to the window, opened it and shouted, ‘I see you, and I’m reporting you.’ And he ran down the driveway and ran away,” she said Friday.

The incident was not caught on camera.

Susan Rosenberg, a UPS spokeswoman at the company’s corporate office in Atlanta, called the incident an “elevated concern” Friday.

“The couple came to the distribution center the night of the incident and spoke to a supervisor on duty. Our center manager called them back the next day, and we had reached out to the police sergeant on deck, and we’re expecting a call back ourselves from the police,” she said. “(We have) not heard back from them, and that is why our center manager did not get back in touch with the (customer).”

Rosenberg said the driver was spoken to, and he reported a different account than what Karen McLaughlin had said she witnessed.

“Our driver felt threatened by their dog. He was placing the package over a fence around the property and felt the dog was trying to come at him and bite him. And he used the box to shield himself, and that’s when a corner of the package hit the dog,” she said.

“We have certainly made outreach to get veterinary medical attention and we have communicated back. So for (them) to say they have received no response is not accurate. We have reached out to the sergeant’s desk and have heard nothing back from the police in order to provide details from our investigation with our driver.”

McLaughlin moved to the states from Scotland two years ago and into the home she shares with her husband, who has lived on the property for several years.

“When I came to this country, I couldn’t believe how much people here loved their dogs and I was horrified watching this happen. I actually felt like I was watching someone beat up my baby,” she said. “My husband has been in the military (Army) for 33 years — this UPS delivery man beat up a war hero’s dog.”

After the alleged incident, which Karen McLaughlin said happened around June 18, her husband took to social media to vent his frustration about the incident.

“Do you have a dog? Do you get UPS packages? Do your packages have bite marks on them that your dog would never do? GUESS WHAT. We just caught the UPS driver teasing our dog with a package for us, making him jump and bite it, and every time my little 12-lb Scottie jumped up, the UPS guy punched him! In the face, neck, and stomach. UPS notified and police notified. We will press charges. Next stop is the vet,” Robert McLaughlin wrote on the Redlands Dog Park’s Facebook Page.

The post was shared by several who saw his message on the group page, including Redlands Buzz — an area watchdog Facebook page — who shared it with its 3,000-plus followers.

After the incident, Karen McLaughlin said she contacted the police and a deputy from the San Bernardino sheriff’s station stopped by the couple’s home to collect a police report. The sheriff’s department confirms there is a report on file.

McLaughlin does not feel UPS is responding satisfactorily.

“I got plenty of… emails and tweets from UPS saying that they will look into this, but nothing final,” Robert McLaughlin said in an interview via Facebook messaging. “I did ask the driver be pulled from the route, and it does not seem like they will do that. So I asked them to (not) deliver to the top of my house, but to leave stuff at the bottom of the driveway.”

Because Karen McLaughlin does not have her own mode of transportation, she could not immediately take Douglas to the vet for a check-up, nor the days following.

But she said the dog is suffering from emotional distress. Her husband maintains that the dog does not allow the couple to pet him on the top of his head anymore.

“(And) if anyone comes to the gate, he just jumps and barks. He just starts barking and going nuts,” Karen McLaughlin said.

In the meantime, after the first conversation was had with the McLaughlins, the company contacted its insurance company to be able to provide veterinary care for the dog, she said.

“And our insurance people were to get in touch with our customer and let them know that, and so that may be where the breakdown in communication is,” Rosenberg said. “And… I am sorry for that.”

Despite whatever communication the couple has had with the company, the couple said the damage has already been done.

“Now he’ll bark at anything. He’s almost scared of his own shadow. And because he’s a rescue dog, it took us so long to get him situated,” Karen McLaughlin said. “He’s a bit Scottish, so he’s a bit hard. But that doesn’t mean you punch a puppy.”

Redlands Daily Facts

Our Readers Say

UPS side of dog abuse story doesn’t wash

I was appalled with the story published Tuesday about the Angelus Oaks dog who was taunted and punched by the UPS driver.

First of all, unless that dog was on a trampoline, he could not have attacked the UPS driver from behind that gate.

If the driver felt threatened by that little ball of fur, why didn’t he leave the package outside the gate/fence?

The spokesperson for UPS also made a comment that made it perfectly clear that she did not know what she was talking about.

She stated the driver felt “threatened” by the dog and as he was placing the package over the fence, he felt the dog was coming at him, so he used the “box” as a shield between him and the dog and a corner of the “box” hit the dog.

Tell me something…why do they claim a box hit this dog when the package being delivered was a padded envelope with not one, but two bites taken out of it?

Even if the padded envelope was used as a shield and the dog got hold of it, he would have torn it, not taken two perfectly shaped bites out of it.

UPS needs to stand up and take the correct action against this driver.

The San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department needs to file animal abuse charges against the driver and the driver needs to be removed from his position. Although I personally have never had a problem with my UPS driver, I’ve heard too many stories about negligent and abusive drivers.

The company needs to stand up and take responsibility.    
— Tami King, Redlands

Redlands Daily Facts

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