For some letter carriers, dog bite prevention hits close to home.
While delivering mail in 2014, Hancock, CA, Letter Carrier LaTanya Beaver approached a closed gate and jangled her keys to see if any dogs were on the other side. Beaver didn’t hear growling or barking, so she reached inside the gate to open it.
That’s when she felt a pull.
“I thought my arm had snagged the gate, but the dog had bit me,” said Beaver, who needed a dozen stitches.
Beaver is one of several carriers who are sharing their stories during this year’s National Dog Bite Prevention Week, which runs through April 15.
Indianapolis Letter Carrier Hansen Arnold recalls being bitten on his lower left calf as he walked away from a home after making a delivery.
“I went into shock as I tried to make my way back to my vehicle. The doctors told me I was lucky because my pants shielded me from an even more severe injury,” said Arnold, who spent three weeks recovering from the bite.
The number of postal employees attacked by dogs in 2016 reached 6,755 — more than 200 higher than the year before.
To prevent bites, USPS is highlighting safety initiatives to protect employees and offering tips to customers, including reminding pet owners to put dogs in separate, closed rooms before opening the door for letter carriers.