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What You Need to Know About National Dog Bite Awareness Week

Posted on Thursday, June 9, 2022
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by AMAC, D.J. Wilson
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National Dog Bite Awareness Week is the official name of the annual campaign conducted by the United States Postal Service to provide information on responsible pet ownership. In 2021, dogs attacked over 5,400 postal employees. This staggering statistic brings to light the magnitude of the serious situations that postal workers encounter every day while performing the important service of mail and package deliveries to people’s homes and places of business. Keeping postal employees safe is top priority of the organization. The public can be a major part of the solution as there are significant steps pet owners can take to decrease attacks on postal workers.

Reiterating the concept of safety is  this year theme, “The USPS Delivers for America – Deliver for Us by Restraining Your Dog.” The USPS also offers sensible tips for pet owners. This includes using caution when opening your front door to get mail that your carrier has delivered. The recommendation is to secure family pets in another room that has a closed door before opening the front door. Folks are asked to apply extra security for dogs who show signs of aggression or are capable of busting through screen doors or plate-glass windows. Parents should also instruct their children not to take mail directly from a carrier in the presence of pets, as dogs may perceive this action to be a threat. If a pet is roaming and a mail carrier’s safety is at risk, owners and affected neighbors will be asked to pick up their mail at their local Post Office instead. In addition, dog hazards will be reported and entered into the system. Should one wish to learn when parcels will be delivered for the purpose of securing pets, sign up for informed delivery.

Postal carriers work hard to deliver mail. They face all sorts of situations, including hazardous weather conditions and tough delivery routes. The last thing they need to worry about is unruly pets. Moreover, it is well within the rights of postal carriers to interrupt service to homes that are unsafe due to unrestrained dogs. The owner of a threatening pet may receive a letter of concern about the animal(s) and be offered ideas for assistance. Note that if a dog attacks a postal worker, the owners can be held liable for all medical expenses, repayment of lost work hours, replacement of uniforms and other costs. Some pets may go into protection mode or behave unpredictably or defensively around others. Thus, it is optimal to secure all pets to ensure the safety of our wonderful mail carriers who provide an essential service for which we are grateful.

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