Sit, stay, educate

A safety demonstration at the Postal Service’s press conference. Click on the image for a larger version.

The Postal Service has a message for employees and the public: Any dog can bite — even animals you know.

Safety advocate Kelly Voigt, who was attacked by a neighbor’s dog when she was a child, recalled the experience at a May 14 press conference to highlight the Postal Service’s annual Dog Bite Prevention Week (May 16-22).

“I was seriously injured,” Voigt said. “A plastic surgeon healed my physical wounds, but my emotional wounds were much more difficult to treat.”

Dogs bite 4.5 million Americans annually, federal data show. Approximately 5,700 USPS employees were attacked last year — including 74 in Los Angeles, which leads the Postal Service’s annual ranking of dog-attack cities.

“Dog attacks are a nationwide issue and not just a postal problem,” said Safety and OSHA Compliance Manager Linda DeCarlo. “All attacks are preventable through responsible pet ownership.”

DeCarlo encouraged reporters to share tips to help protect postal employees. For example, customers should place dogs in a separate room and close the door before greeting a letter carrier delivering mail or packages.

The press conference also featured letter carriers who recalled their experiences and a demonstration with Elle, a pit bull therapy dog.