(COLUMBUS) - Police in Columbus call it a clear case of battery.
They say a mailman was essentially whipped with a dog leash after a pepper spray incident with a homeowner's pets. But that homeowner, 54-year-old Anthony Wayne Stevens, claims he was nearly attacked first and acted in self-defense.
Stevens was just back from a run with his dogs Saturday morning on Camelot Lane, when a delivery from the mailman turned dangerous and led to a long weekend in jail.
"That's where the confrontation took place," Stevens said, pointing to an area in his side yard. "It happened so quick, I didn't even know I did it. It was just, bang - I did it."
Stevens says his Labradoodle, Snowball, ran around the house and went right for the postal carrier.
"I ran after her and as I get there, there's a mailman there and he's not happy at all. He's trying to spray her with pepper spray," Stevens explained.
"The postal carrier felt that he needed to protect himself from the dog he stated was aggressive," said Columbus Police Sgt. Matt Harris.
"He's got his can out and you know, 'I got the right to spray your dogs right now,' and he starts spraying my other dog, the schnauzer, who's right beside me. No threat. No aggression. No nothing and he's just 'Psshhh!' and he's just unloading," Stevens said. "Then he lifted the can to me. When he lifted the thing up to me, I just had the leash like this, I just step in and 'Whoosh!'"
Stevens said he struck the mailman in the face with his leash.
"As soon as he lifted the can up and I saw those drops come out, I stepped out of the way of the path and I had the leash folded in my hand and that's what I hit him with. I hit him in the mouth. Just swung, just reaction," Stevens said.
Stevens claims he acted in self-defense.
"I'm really sorry it happened, but I was defending myself," Stevens said. "He assaulted me with a chemical weapon, basically, and I reacted. I defended myself."
Stevens says he told gathering neighbors to call 911, while he held the postal carrier down on the ground. That mailman told investigators he only sprayed one dog one time for being aggressive and says Stevens, in addition to whipping him with the leash, also punched him and knocked him to the ground.
The postal carrier had to be treated at the hospital for mouth and leg injuries. Stevens was hauled off to the Bartholomew County Jail.
"If the dog owner felt that his animal was being abused or misused, a phone call should have been made to us so that we could have investigated that, rather than taking action in his own hands," Harris said.
Stevens faces a preliminary charge of battery. Bartholomew County prosecutors are reviewing the case right now.
Sgt. Harris says the U.S. Postal Inspector is investigating, too. So there's a possibility of a federal charge, since the alleged attack was on a federal employee.
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