Post Post office reporting increase in letter carrier encounters with dogs
Wayne area letter carriers have seen an increase in the number of encounters with dogs recently and they’re asking dog owners for help.
“We’re very concerned about the increase in the number of close calls involving dogs as carriers attempt to deliver the routes safely,” said Wayne Postmaster Beth Pasold. “We’re asking pet owners to please restrain their dogs for the safety of letter carriers and the community. We can’t control people’s dogs; only dog owners can do that.”
Pasold says the request for restraining dogs includes those who live in rural areas.
“Summer is almost here, and with temperatures rising and children out of school, our carriers see more dogs running loose,” Pasold said. “We take the safety of our employees very seriously. We will not wait until a carrier is bitten before taking preventative action. A dog that runs loose not only affects the delivery of the dog owner’s mail, but often the delivery of their neighbors’ mail as well.”
The USPS is adding two new safety measures to alert carriers of dogs on their delivery routes. When using usps.com’s Package Pickup application, customers will be asked to indicate if there is a dog at their address when they schedule a package pickup. The second goes into effect later this spring.
“The Mobile Delivery Devices that letter carriers use to scan packages to confirm delivery will include a feature that allows carriers to indicate the presence of a dog at an individual address,” said Pasold. “This is especially helpful to substitutes who fill-in for letter carriers on their days off.”
Last year 46 Nebraska carriers were needlessly bitten by dogs while delivering the mail. Twenty-one of the bites resulted in medical attention beyond first aid, and five cases resulted in a letter carrier being unable to return to their normal duties for a period of time. The injuries to carriers ranged from a scratch to the life-threatening, including a Nebraska carrier who was threatened by a pack of 13 dogs, four of which attacked, knocking her to the ground and repeatedly biting her on the arms and legs while she covered her face.
May 15-21 is National Dog Bite Prevention Week. Nationwide, 6,549 postal employees were attacked by dogs in 2015. So far in 2016 there have been 10 dog bites to Nebraska carriers.
Pasold shares the following prevention tips:
– If a letter carrier delivers a certified letter or a package to your front door, place your dog in a separate room and close the door before opening the front door. Dogs have been known to burst through screen doors or plate-glass windows to get at strangers.
– Dog owners should remind their children about the need to keep the family dog secured. Parents should remind their children not to take mail directly from letter carriers in the presence of the family pet as the dog may see handing mail to a child as a threatening gesture.
– The USPS places the safety of its employees as a top priority. If a carrier feels threatened by a vicious dog or if a dog is running loose, the owner may be asked to pick up the mail at the Post Office until the carrier is assured the pet has been restrained. If the dog is roaming the neighborhood, the pet owner’s neighbors may be asked to pick up their mail at the Post Office as well.