Animal Interference in Deliveries: USPS Challenges, Protocols, and Solutions

Last Updated on 11/09/2023 by UPS_ Admin

Navigating the intricate process of package delivery, the United States Postal Service (USPS) sometimes encounters unexpected hurdles. Among these challenges, “animal interference” stands out as a unique yet significant factor affecting timely delivery. This article delves into the nuances of animal interference, its implications on USPS deliveries, and the subsequent steps both couriers and recipients should consider ensuring seamless mail and package distribution.

USPS Animal Interference

What does it mean when USPS says “animal interference”?

When the USPS mentions “animal interference,” it refers to situations where the delivery of a shipment is delayed or hindered due to the presence or threat posed by an animal. This interference could arise from a variety of animals such as domestic pets, stray dogs, wild creatures, swarms of bees, or any other animal that poses an immediate obstacle to delivery.

Why would an animal prevent delivery?

Animal interference is taken seriously by the USPS as an aggressive or potentially harmful animal on the property can pose a threat to couriers, preventing them from safely delivering an item. In cases where a carrier feels threatened, they might decide not to attempt delivery for their safety. Delivery, in such cases, is usually attempted again the next day.

What is a delivery exception?

A delivery exception denotes a delay experienced by a package while in transit. Various reasons can cause this delay: there might be issues with the recipient’s address, missed hand-offs, carrier-related problems, etc., regardless of whether the carrier is USPS, FedEx, or PMX.

How common is it for animals to cause delivery interruptions?

While it may seem unusual for your address to be skipped due to nonexistent animals, it is a possibility. Carriers are always instructed to prioritize their safety. In densely populated areas, issues with stray animals may be rare, but in other areas, carriers often encounter pets left unrestrained in front yards. In such scenarios, they might decide to skip the house for their safety. If such interruptions are frequent, it is advisable for the resident to contact their local Post Office or speak to a manager to ascertain the cause.

What happens if a carrier finds a residence unsafe for delivery due to animals?

If a USPS carrier perceives a residence as unsafe due to an unrestrained or threatening animal, mail delivery service to that address can be halted. When such interruptions occur, whether at a specific address or throughout a neighborhood, all affected residents will be required to collect their mail directly from their local Post Office.

Will USPS deliver after animal interference?

Yes, USPS will attempt to deliver after an instance of animal interference. If a USPS carrier encounters an animal interference, such as an aggressive animal on the property, it may prevent them from safely delivering the package on that particular day. However, if the package is marked as “attempted delivery” due to this interference, the carrier will typically try to deliver it again on the next business day.

If the recipient isn’t available to receive the package on the second attempt, the driver will leave a notice at the delivery address. This notice will contain information on how to either arrange a future delivery or pick it up directly from a specified location.

In situations where the carrier deems a residence unsafe due to an unrestrained or potentially dangerous animal, regular mail delivery can be interrupted. When such interruptions happen, whether it’s for a single address or an entire neighborhood, all affected parties will need to collect their mail from their local Post Office. If the issue persists, it might be advisable for residents to either restrain their pets or provide a safe location for the mail delivery to avoid future interruptions.

What should I do if I miss a delivery due to animal interference?

If you have received a “No Access to Delivery Location” notice due to animal interference or any other reason, your package will be returned to your local USPS office. After one or two failed delivery attempts, if the carrier doesn’t meet the recipient, the package will usually be returned to the sender. However, before this occurs, you can:

  1. Check the notice left by the carrier for instructions on how to arrange a future delivery or how to pick up the package.
  2. Contact the local Post Office as early as possible if you wish to pick up the package yourself, especially if you are aware of a consistent animal interference issue in your neighborhood.

Remember, the USPS’s primary concern is the safety of its carriers. As such, they prioritize their well-being in cases of potential threats like animal interference. It’s always a good practice to ensure your pets are restrained or kept in a safe location during the expected delivery window to avoid such interruptions.


In summary, animal interference, while a unique challenge, is taken seriously by the USPS due to safety concerns for their carriers. Whether stemming from domestic pets or wild animals, any perceived threat can result in delivery delays. While the USPS aims to provide timely deliveries, carrier safety remains paramount. To ensure smooth mail delivery, residents are encouraged to restrain their pets and be proactive in communicating with the local Post Office regarding repeated delivery challenges.

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