CHICAGO, IL — They walk the streets everyday delivering America’s mail, and during National Dog Bite Prevention Week, April 8-14, Chicago letter carriers want to deliver a special message to the community about working together to avoid the cost and pain of dog bites.
The number of postal employees attacked by dogs nationwide reached 6,244 in 2017 — more than 500 fewer than 2016. In Chicago, there have been 38 dog incidents involving letter carriers within the last year. That ranks Chicago 10th in the nation. The Postal Service is encouraged by the reduction in dog attacks but plans to continue education and dog bite prevention training, along with advancing technology to keep more people safe and keep attacks trending downward.
“That’s why we’re delivering this important message to the community,” said acting Chicago Postmaster Wanda Prater. “Several of our letter carriers know first-hand about both the prevention and the pain of animal attacks, and we want to do whatever we can to help educate the community — especially parents and pet owners.”
Half of the 4.5 million Americans bitten by dogs annually are children, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Enhancing Employee Safety
USPS has safety measures that alert mail carriers to dogs on their delivery routes. The Package Pickup application on usps.com asks customers to indicate if there are dogs at their addresses when they schedule package pickups. This information is provided to carriers on their delivery scanners which send alerts if an unleashed dog is reported in a delivery area.
The Postal Service offers the following tips for customers to prevent a dog attack and how to be a responsible dog owner.
- If a carrier delivers mail or packages to your front door, place your dog in a separate room and close that door before opening the front door. Some dogs burst through screen doors or plate-glass windows to attack visitors. Dog owners should keep the family pet secured.
- Parents should remind their children and other family members not to take mail directly from carriers in the presence of the family pet, as the dog may view the person handing mail to a family member as a threatening gesture.
- The Postal Service places the safety of its employees as a top priority. If a carrier feels threatened by a dog, or if a dog is loose or unleashed, the owner may be asked to pick up mail at a Post Office until the carrier is assured the pet has been restrained. If a dog is roaming the neighborhood, the pet owner’s neighbors also may be asked to pick up their mail at the area’s Post Office.
The Postal Service receives no tax dollars for operating expenses and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations.
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