HOUSTON (KTRK) -- UPDATE (07/05/17): Charges against the mail carrier were dismissed on March 1 after he completed community service and sent a letter apologizing to the homeowners. The dogs are in good health.
A northwest Houston family wants a mail carrier disciplined for spraying their dogs with what appears to be pepper spray even though security video shows the dogs posed no threat.
The Cruz family's three dogs were outside last Thursday but behind a closed gate when the United States Postal Service mail carrier approached to deliver the mail.
Jose Cruz says what happened next was shocking.
His home video shows the carrier spraying the three lap dogs until they retreated. A thick metal gate separates them from the mailbox and the mail carrier.
"They're little dogs behind the fence. They don't deserve that. Just put the mail in and go to the next house," said Cruz.
Linda Cruz says she complained at her local post office but no one asked for her name or address. Only then did the family contact Eyewitness News.
In response, the Postal Service sent this statement:
"The Postal Service takes the issue of dog bite prevention very seriously. Local postal officials are conducting an investigation and will take appropriate action, as needed, pending the results."
The family does not want the mail carrier fired. They hope for an apology and to prevent future incidents.
"Why would you do that? They had no way to get to you," said Kevin Cruz, Jose's son. "They're just little, tiny babies."
Houston leads the nation in the number of mail carriers bitten by dogs. According to the USPS website, last year there were 77 ahead of San Diego and Cleveland. Both had 58.
EXCLUSIVE: Mailman appears to pepper spray dogs in security video