Pennsylvania sees nearly 300 dog bites in 2020, USPS offers tips to keep letter carriers safe
HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – Can you imagine a member of your family biting a mailman? Probably not, but it has happened almost 300 times in Pennsylvania last year.
From small bites to vicious attacks, dog behavior poses a serious threat to postal workers and the general public. In response, the US Postal Service (USPS) is providing the dos and don’ts of responsible dog ownership as part of its annual National Dog Bite Awareness Week public service campaign.
When a dog attacks a mailman, the dog owner could be held responsible for medical bills, lost work hours, uniform replacement, and other costs.
“I make sure my hand can always easily access the dog repellant I’m carrying,” said Kelly Ratz, NJ mailman. “I am always mindful of my surroundings and if I have to enter a customer’s yard to deliver a package or mail, I make sure to slam the door before entering.”
The USPS says there are four tips for preventing attacks.
- Door delivery: If a carrier delivers mail or packages to your front door, place your dog in a separate room and close that door before opening the front door.
- Electronic fence: While electronic fencing can keep your dog from wandering, it does not protect your carrier, who must enter your property to deliver mail. Postal agents ask you to keep your dog tethered or indoors when mail is delivered.
- Dog in the yard: Make sure your dog is properly strapped on a leash and away from where your postman delivers mail. If the carrier deems a residence unsafe because of an unattached dog, the mail recipient will need to pick up the mail at their local post office.
- Monitoring: Dog owners who have access to mail notifications are encouraged to use these features to determine when the mail carrier is on their way and to ensure their dog has been properly restrained.
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In a USPS press release, Pennsylvania ranked fifth in the country for dog bites, with 320 dog bites in 2019 and 291 bites in 2020.