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More than 5,800 postal workers were attacked by dogs in the United States in 2020. From nipples and bites to vicious attacks, aggressive dog behavior poses a serious threat to postal workers and the public. To highlight the enormity of this serious problem, the US Postal Service presents the National Dog Bite to the public as part of its annual public service campaign Awareness Week information about the do’s and don’ts of responsible dog ownership is available.
The campaign runs from Saturday June 12th to Friday June 18th. This year’s theme is “Warning: Any Dog Can Bite”. Spread the news of the campaign with the hashtag #dogbiteawareness. Dog bites are completely preventable.
“Raising awareness about dog bite prevention and protecting our postmen while delivering mail is of the utmost importance,” said Jamie Seavello, USPS assistant safety and health awareness. “Dogs are instinctive animals that may act to protect their lawn, so it is important to educate the public about this campaign.”
Prevent the bite
Dog owners are responsible for controlling their dogs. The best way to keep everyone safe from dog bites is to recognize and encourage responsible pet ownership. Most people know the approximate time their mailman will arrive each day, and having their dog secured when the carrier approaches their property for delivery will minimize dog transport interactions.
Pet owners should:
■ Remind your children not to take mail directly from a postman as the dog may see the postman as a threat.
■ When a postman comes to your house, keep dogs: In the house or behind a fence; Away from the door or in another room; or on a leash.
Also, Informed Delivery is a great tool for customers. It’s a free service that gives customers a digital preview of scheduled mail and parcel deliveries so they can make arrangements and secure their dog when the parcels are delivered to the door. Sign up at informeddelivery.usps.com.
Porter and the dog
Postmen are trained to watch an area where they know dogs can be present. You will be taught to watch out for potentially dangerous conditions and to respect a dog’s territory.
■ Do not scare a dog.
■ Keep an eye on the dog.
■ Never assume that a dog will not bite.
■ When entering a yard, make noise or rattle a fence to warn the dog.
■ Never try to pet or feed a dog
■ Place your foot against an outward swinging door.
When a dog attacks, wearers are also trained to stand their ground and protect their bodies by placing something between them and the dog – such as their chain bag – and using dog repellants if necessary. Unfortunately, even when postal workers ask customers to check their dogs, dog bites still occur, which can cause injury to carriers and costly medical costs to dog owners. Please follow the best practices above to stop dog bites and keep your postman safe.
Kansas City Postman James Michael Benson recognizes the importance of the security training he received as a postman to protect himself from dog attacks while delivering mail. Despite carefully following dog bite safety protocols on his route, he was recently attacked by a dog.
“I knocked on a customer’s door to pick up a package, and when a young child answered, a dog ran out the door and bit my forearm and knocked me to the ground,” Benson said. “I was in shock and struggling with the dog when it jumped and bit my face, under my ear, again.”
Benson said the attack was so quick and violent that he couldn’t react to fend off his dog and it was one of the most terrifying moments of his life. The attack happened within seconds before the dog was abruptly restrained by the owner.
Hauliers have tools to remind them of dogs on their routes. A dog warning tool is on their handheld scanners to remind them of a potential dog hazard, and they use dog warning cards as a reminder when sorting their mail for their routes that a dog might disrupt delivery.
After all, if a carrier feels unsafe, the postal service can be interrupted not just for the dog owner but for the entire neighborhood. If the postal service is interrupted, the post must be picked up at the post office. Service will not be restored until the dog has been properly restrained.