This week is dog bite awareness week and the United States Postal Service is sharing tips to keep mail carriers safe. Dustin Johnson has been a mail carrier in Boise for six years and most of his interactions with dogs on his route are friendly.
"I do have a dog on my route named Arie and he likes to walk the entire loop with me, then he'll run back into his house every day. It's actually pretty cool," Johnson said.
But sometimes, Johnson encounters a dog that isn't as friendly. On Tuesday, he says he came across a dog he'd never seen before that didn't like Johnson being in his yard.
The dog had his ears turned down and his hackles up. The owner was at the door and called him in immediately, but on the rare occasion, a situation like that could end in the dog attacking Johnson.
After a year of working at home and people getting their "pandemic puppies," USPS says the number of dog attacks on mail carriers has increased.
USPS reports there were 26 dog attacks on mail carriers in Idaho in 2020. This is how it breaks down by city:
Dog attacks in Idaho are up 23% from 2019, with 21 recorded dog attacks on mail carriers. This is how the 2019 numbers break down by city:
Johnson said the most common problem he sees is people leaving their doors open because when he goes to deliver that person's mail, the dog thinks he's going into their house and can get aggressive.
The USPS has some tips to help ensure situations like that don't happen:
- If you're expecting a package, use USPS tracking to know when the mail carrier will be at your house.
- If the mail carrier delivers something to your door, either wait until they're off your property to open the door or close your dog in a different room.
- Remind children and family members not to take mail directly from carriers in the presence of a family pet.
- Keep your dog leashed or restrained when outside during normal delivery hours, even if you have an invisible fence.