Watch CBS News

Illegal And Regulated Mailings

By Amy E. Feldman

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - As you're preparing to mail your holiday gifts you want to know: what does the law say about what can and can't be sent through the mail?

A DC woman's ex-boyfriend sent her 15 live baby chickens through the mail with the message: there are plenty of other chicks.

Clever...and creepy. But what it was not, according to the postal service, was illegal.

It isn't? You can mail chickens?

As you are packaging your chicken soup to mail for the holidays, you need to know that there are three basic types of mail that are regulated: hazardous, restricted, and perishable material.

A hazardous material is anything that's capable of posing an unreasonable risk to health, safety, or property during transportation like aerosols or gasoline which can't be mailed.

Restricted material wouldn't necessarily cause danger to the mail carrier, like tobacco or alcohol, but is regulated for other reasons and the rules prohibit consumers from putting it through the mail.

Perishable matter is anything that can deteriorate in the mail which may be sent at the mailer's own risk when it is packaged as required and when it can be delivered within a reasonable time. Examples of perishable matter include mailable types of food, live animals, and plants.

Still, chicks both literal and figurative will tell you to save the stamp and keep your nasty message to yourself.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.