The theme for this year’s National Dog Bite Awareness Week is “Be Aware: Any Dog Can Bite,” and with 85 million pet dogs in the United States, that is no small threat.
The Postal Service wants to remind customers and employees to follow best practices when dealing with dogs.
Customers with dogs should:
• Keep dogs inside the house, behind a fence, away from the door or in another room, or on a leash whenever a letter carrier comes to the home.
• Teach their children not to take mail directly from a letter carrier because the dog may view the carrier as a threat.
• Take good care of them because dogs that are not properly socialized, receive little attention or are left tethered for long periods of time are more likely to turn into biters.
Informed Delivery, a free feature that offers digital previews of incoming mail, and Package Pickup are also promoted as useful tools in bite prevention because advance notification of a delivery gives customers an opportunity to secure dogs before a carrier arrives.
Letter carriers should:
• Avoid startling a dog;
• Never assume a dog won’t bite;
• Not attempt to pet or feed a dog;
• Always be aware of the dog’s location; and
• Call the dog’s name, if known, and speak to it in a friendly manner.
The Postal Service provides letter carriers with safety training, warning-card reminders for customers and dog repellent. Carriers’ hand-held scanners also provide a dog-alert feature.
The Safety Resources Blue page has additional tips and information.