MARYVILLE (WATE) – Victoria Alexander says her dog “Bumper” is fine now, but Tuesday the two-year-old boxer struggled to breathe after he was sprayed in the face by a postal worker with what she believes was bear spray.

Victoria Alexander said she let her dog out inside her fence. When the postal worker walked up to the house, she said Buster started barking because he was saw someone he did not know. Then she said she watched the postal worker walk back to his car and get a spray bottle. Going to the door, she said she saw the worker reach over the fence and spray her dog.

“Bumper was rubbing his eyes, trying to get it out in the grass and he was like ‘sorry I sprayed your dog,'” said Victoria Alexander.

After Bumper was sprayed, Victoria Alexander said the worker left quickly. She called the post office.

“They said ‘we can’t tell them not to carry bear spray or spray at all,’” said Victoria Alexander. “’If they feel threatened by any dog they can spray them.'”

When Victoria Alexander’s mother Amy got home from work she said she was furious. She called the Maryville Police Department who referred her to animal control.

“I was so upset, my hands were shaking, I was bawling my eyes out,” said Amy Alexander. “They told me there is no law in the state of Tennessee saying you cannot spray a dog, even if it is behind a fence.”

The family says the answers they were given are not enough.

“My question to the post office and to this postman is, ‘Why did you feel the need to spray my dog in the face?’” said Amy

WATE 6 On Your Side reached out to Susan Wright with United States Post Office. She provided the following statement:

“The carrier entered a fenced yard and used dog repellent when he felt threatened by the customer’s dog. In this situation the carrier should have left a notice for the package and avoided a potentially dangerous situation. While the effects of the dog repellent are temporary, we understand no one wants to see a beloved family pet experience any discomfort.”