USPS: Raising awareness about dog bite prevention
More than 5,800 postal employees were attacked by dogs in the United States in 2020. To highlight the enormity of this serious issue, the U.S. Postal Service is providing the public with information on the do’s and don’ts of responsible dog ownership as part of its annual National Dog Bite Awareness Week public service campaign.
“Raising awareness about dog bite prevention and how to protect our letter carriers as we deliver the mail is paramount,” said USPS Acting Employee Safety and Health Awareness Manager Jamie Seavello. “Dogs are instinctive animals that may act to protect their turf and that why’s it’s important to inform the public about this campaign.”
USPS is encouraging customers to sign up to Informed Delivery – a free service that gives customers a digital preview of the mail and packages that are scheduled to be delivered so that they can take precautions and secure their dog when parcels are delivered to the door.
Carrier and the Canine
Letter carriers are trained to observe an area where they know dogs may be present. They are taught to be alert for potentially dangerous conditions and to respect a dog’s territory.
Letter carriers know:
→ Don’t startle a dog.
→ Keep your eyes on the dog.
→ Never assume a dog won’t bite.
→If entering a yard, make some noise or rattle a fence to alert the dog.
→Never attempt to pet or feed a dog
→Place your foot against an outward swinging door.
If a dog attacks, carriers are also trained to stand their ground and protect their body by placing something between them and the dog — such as their mail satchel — and use dog repellent, if necessary. Even though postal officials ask customers to control their dogs, unfortunately dog bites still happen, which may cause injuries to our carriers and costly medical expenses for dog owners. Please heed the above best practices to help stop dog bites and protect your letter carrier.
Carriers do have tools to remind them about dogs on their routes. There is a dog alert feature tool on their handheld scanners to remind them of a possible dog hazard and they use dog warning cards as reminders when they sort their mail for their routes that a dog that may interfere with delivery.
Lastly, when a carrier feels unsafe, mail service could be interrupted, not only for the dog owner, but for the entire neighborhood. When mail service is interrupted, mail must be picked up at the Post Office. Service will not be restored until the dog is properly restrained.