KENTON HILLS, Ky. - It couldn't be an easy house call for Postal Service supervisor Terry Estrada to make.
"Let me express my greatest apologies," she told 77-year-old Nelson Hamm in front of his house on Devou Woods Drive in Kenton Hills. "I'm so sorry that this happened."
Thursday afternoon, Hamm said he watched as a mail carrier deliberately ran over his 3-year-old golden retriever, Nala.
"He had the car parked out there," he said. "She was out sniffing his tires."
Hamm said the carrier gunned the engine and ran over Nala's neck.
It became instantly clear to Hamm that it was no accident.
He said the mail truck was struggling to drive over the dog.
"Three times over her neck before he got over her," Hamm said. "The second time...smoke started coming from her."
He said the carrier delivered another package and then sped out of the cul-de-sac, despite his cries for him to stop.
"I'll bet he was doing 90 miles an hour," he said.
Hamm said he was numb.
Then, suddenly, a flicker of hope, quickly extinguished.
"The dog got up," he said. "I thought she was all right. I brought her in right here to the door. She fell in the door. I reached down and kissed her nose, and she licked my face and she just looked at me and went. She was dead."
Jack Stewart, 9, said the golden retriever came up the street every day to romp around.
"It makes me feel really bad," he said.
The Postal Service is investigating the incident.
What they are able to do if the allegations are true may be a bit muddy.
"We are a unionized environment," said one postal service employee who apologized to Hamm and his daughter. "There's procedures we have to follow but...we will follow through."
But for Hamm, no amount of follow through will replace his beloved pet.
"She was a beautiful dog," he said.
The family released a statement Wednesday to address the circumstances surrounding the dog's death.
"The carrier observed Nahla sniffing the back tire and looked directly into the face of my father, Nelson Hamm, who was standing in the doorway," Lisa Hamm said in a statement. "Dad called Nahla to come up to the house, but she did not have time to respond before the postal carrier started the vehicle and trapped her beneath the tire."
Lisa Hamm, who is the superintendent at the Cincinnati College Preparatory Academy, said that the postal worker appeared to change gears in order to get the vehicle to run over the dog, and that smoke appeared before the vehicle finally got past the animal.
"The entire time, Nelson Hamm was screaming at the postal carrier and physically trying to get to him in the vehicle," Lisa Hamm said in the statement. "The postal carrier had the door shut and the window up. The postal carrier continued, while laughing."
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