While homeowners on neighboring streets pick up their mail from doorstep mailboxes each day, for the last week the residents of Rice Court in Rockville have had to drive 1 1/2 miles to the nearest post office to pick up theirs.

What stands between the 10 families on Rice Court and their mail is not rain, sleet, or dark of night, but snoopy; a 5-pound dog that stands 6 inches high at the shoulder.

Snoopy chases the mailman.

Mailman Wayne Hill has refused to deliver mail to the homes since last Thursday because Snoopy chases, barks, and nips at him whenever he enters the street, said E. F. Gamble, Hill's supervisor. Gamble cited a Postal Service code that stipulates mail delivery "may be temporarily withdrawn (if) animals interfere."

"It's not funny," said Hill, a dog owner himself. "It's an annoyance. Other dogs follow me around and lick me to death. But this dog - I don't know."

Dolores Thompson, Snoopy's owner, denied yesterday that her dog has harassed the mailman. Snoopy is just "overly protective," she said. "He's the cutest little thing. Everybody loves him - except the mailman."

Four neighbors interviewed yesterday expressed sympathy for Hill. "He's (Snoopy) the most terrifying little thing," said one neighbor, Suzy St. Onge, 17, who lives next door to Thompson. Others said Snoopy has nipped at children and roams the neighborhood, barking at everyone he sees.

In the meantime, Rockville police have offered to have two animal wardens accompany Hill if he visits Rice Court again. If that's what his supervisors want, Hill said, he will do it, but he said he will not deliver mail to the Thompson home in any case.