HOUSTON, Texas — More than 5,800 postal employees were attacked by dogs in the United States in 2020. When attacks were ranked by city, Houston, Texas was number one on the list with 73 attacks in 2020.
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.
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.
The campaign runs Saturday, June 12 through Friday, June 18, and this year’s theme is, “Be Aware: Any Dog Can Bite.”
The public can spread the news of the campaign by using the hashtag #dogbiteawareness.
“Raising awareness about dog bite prevention and how to protect our letter carriers as we deliver the mail is paramount,” Jamie Seavello, USPS acting employee safety and health awareness manager, said. “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.”
Dog owners are responsible for controlling their dogs. The best way to keep everyone safe from dog bites is to recognize and promote responsible pet ownership.
Most people know the approximate time their letter carrier arrives every day and having their dog secured as the carrier approaches their property for delivery will minimize any dog carrier interactions
More on: Informed Delivery 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.
Pet owners are advised to remind their children not to take mail directly from a letter carrier as the dog may view the carrier as a threat, and keep dogs inside the house, behind a fence or on a leash when a letter carrier comes to their home.
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 not to startle a dog, keep their eyes on the dog, never assume a dog won’t bite, never attempt to pet or feed a dog, place their foot against an outward swinging door and if entering a yard, make some noise or rattle a fence to alert the dog.
If a dog attacks, carriers are trained to stand their ground and protect their body by placing something between them and the dog 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.
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.