The U.S. Postal Service is trying to bring awareness this week to one of the major hazards on the job for letter carriers — dog bites. Des Moines Post Office customer relations coordinator, Mary Berardi, says National Dog Bite Prevention Week is a chance to remind people of the problem.
Berardi says they want to be sure that dogs aren’t running loose and the carriers are safe. She says carrier like dogs, but dogs have territory and want to protect their territory. Berardi says the Postal Service tries to work with residents to prevent problems, and could stop delivering mail if a problem dog isn’t taken care of. She says they recently came across a dog that was loose and attacked a carrier and they want to be sure that those type of dogs are confined. Berardi says carriers do what they can to avoid attacks.
Berardi says they tell carriers to not run past the dog, but to deliver the mail. She says the teach carriers to put their mail bag in front of them if the dog is attacking, and they also have pepper spray they can use if needed. Berardi says it hasn’t been a major problem in Des Moines, but she says they know from reports from across the country involving people bitten by dogs that it can be very serious.
She says nationwide last year there were seven deaths from dog attacks. The Postal Service says more than three-thousand city and rural carriers were attacked by dogs across the United States last year.
The Postal Service says you can help by getting obedience training for your dog, keeping your dog inside when the carrier visits, or have your do neutered as neutered animals are less likely to bite.