Eleven Idaho postal carriers have been bitten by dogs so far this year, and that doesn’t include the many close calls with dogs carriers face on a daily basis, according to U.S. Post Office officials. That is a much higher frequency than 2015, which saw 13 attacks all year.
Many of the attacks resulting in medical attention beyond first aid.
“Summer is almost here and with temperatures rising and children out of school, our carriers see more dogs running loose,” said USPS District Manager Darrell Stoke. “We strongly encourage dog owners to restrain their dogs and allow the carriers to deliver the mail safely. We take the safety of our employees very seriously. We will not wait until a carrier is bitten before taking preventative action.”
The Postal Service 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 Stoke. “This is especially helpful to substitutes who fill-in for letter carriers on their days off.”
This is National Dog Bite Prevention Week. Nationwide, 6,549 postal employees were attacked in 2015.
The USPS recommends these tips to dog owners:
-If a letter carrier delivers a certified letter or a package to your front door, place your dog into 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.
-If a letter 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.