Letter carriers and dog attacks

Created: 05/20/2014 5:46 PM WHEC.com
By: Lynette Adams

Serious injury, lost wages, time off the job and long lasting fear are some of the things thousands of letter carriers face every year due to dog attacks.

This week is National Dog Bite Prevention Week. The U.S. Postal Service is asking customers to be more responsible pet owners and help prevent attacks.

Last year, 18 letter carriers were attacked by dogs in Rochester. That was up from ten the previous year. Rochester is number 23 on the list of the top 30 dog attack cities.

The postal service says dog bites are completely avoidable. This week, during National Dog Bite Week Prevention Week, the U.S. Postal Service is reminding homeowners to do three things. They want dog owners to place their dog in a separate room if a letter carrier comes to your door to deliver mail or a package. Dogs have been known to break through doors and glass.

The U.S Postal Service is reminding parents to remind their children to keep dogs secured, which means closing gates and doors.

Lastly, homeowners are asked to remind children not to take mail directly from letter carriers in front of pets. This could appear threatening to the pet.

Tim Stevely says he has had some close calls. Although, he's never been bitten, he says he knows how devastating this can be for a letter carrier.

Tim Stevely said, “Depending how severe the bite was and how big the dog was, psychological issues down the road too where they're going to be afraid to deliver the mail. Like I said it could mean serious injuries. I do know one where a carrier was bitten and contracted an infection and ended up being in the hospital for a couple of days.”

The postal service also wants to remind homeowners that if a letter carrier feels threatening by a dog, you may be asked to pick up mail from the post office. If a dog bites a letter carrier, the owner of that dog could be held liable for all medical expenses and other costs.

The worst city for dog attacks against postal workers was Houston, Texas. They had 63 last year.

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