Cover Story

National Dog Bite Awareness Week, June 14–20, 2020

Sponsored by the United States Postal Service®, National Dog Bite Awareness Week is a public service campaign that offers safety tips and emphasizes the need for increased owner responsibility in the prevention of dog attacks.

From nips and bites to vicious attacks, aggressive dog behavior poses a serious threat to our employees. To emphasize the enormity of this issue, the Postal Service™ is reporting the number of dog attacks and bites together as the most prominent threat to carriers. Last year, 5,803 Postal Service employees were victimized by dogs.

The tools available in this kit and online will help promote the awareness of this public health concern in an effort to reduce the number of adverse interactions with our letter carriers in local communities. Be sure to contact the field communications professionals listed in this kit when promoting this initiative.

Dog Bite Awareness Background and Tips

The Victims

n Last year, many attacks reported by letter carriers came from dogs whose owners regularly used the phrase, “My dog won’t bite.”

How to Avoid Being Bitten

n Don’t run past a dog. The dog’s natural instinct is to chase people who run.

n If a dog threatens you, don’t scream. Avoid eye contact. Try to remain still until the dog leaves, and then back away slowly until the dog is out of sight.

n Don’t approach a strange dog, especially one that’s tethered or confined.

n While letter carriers are discouraged from petting animals, people who choose to pet dogs should always let a dog see and sniff them before petting the animal.

n If a dog is about to attack, try to place something between yourself and the dog, such as a satchel, backpack, or bicycle.

How to Be a Responsible Dog Owner

n Obedience training can teach dogs proper behavior and help owners control their dog in any situation.

n When a letter carrier comes to the home, keep dogs:

n Inside the house or behind a fence,

n Away from the door,

n In another room, or

n On a leash.

n Dogs can be protective of their territory and may interpret the actions of letter carriers as a threat. Take precautions when accepting mail in the presence of your pet.

n Dogs that haven’t been properly socialized, receive little attention or handling, or are left tied-up for long periods may become biters.

Postmaster Publicity Kit 2020

Avoid the Bite!

Dog Bite Awareness Week is June 14–20, 2020

Kickoff Event: June 11, 2020


n Information for all Mail Carriers

n Sample/Matte Release

n Letter to the Editor

n General Letters to Customers (English and Spanish)

n Public Service Announcements

n Social Media

n Tease

n Tweets

n Postmaster Outreach Speech to Students

n Coloring Page for Students

n Glossary

n Area Corporate Communications Managers List

n 2019 Dog Attack Rankings by City

n Government Relations Representatives List

Poster: USPS National Dog Bite Awareness Week: June 14-20, 2020. Be Alert: Prevent the Bite!

Information for All Mail Carriers

Dog Attack Prevention Tips for Mail Carriers — How to Help Prevent Dog Attacks

Make an effort every day to do the following:

1. Carry dog repellent.

2. Update dog warning cards, if necessary. The safety of your coworkers starts with you.

3. Take messages on your Mobile Delivery Device (MDD) seriously when you receive an alert about hazards, such as dogs, on your route.

4. Report any dog incidents on your route (e.g., close calls) to your supervisor. An “almost bite” today could be a “bite” tomorrow.

Remember these simple rules:

1. If approached by a dog, resist the impulse to scream and run away. Running will trigger a chase response.

2. Remain still, place your satchel between you and the dog, and avoid eye contact with the dog.

3. Once the dog has calmed down, back away. Do not turn your back on a dog because a fearful dog may unexpectedly bite.

Be aware of your surroundings to protect yourself:

1. Stay alert at all times:

a. Observe the area carefully.

b. Don’t wear earbuds or Bluetooth devices that could affect your ability to hear what is going on around you.

c. Be aware of common places dogs may hide (e.g., under parked cars, under hedges, or on porches).

d. Rattle the gate before entering a fenced-in yard.

2. If you encounter a dog:

a. Never assume that a dog won’t bite, even if it has been friendly in the past. Any dog can bite.

b. Always keep your eye on the dog. Dogs are more likely to bite when you aren’t looking.

c. Never startle a dog. If it is asleep, make some kind of non-startling noise, such as a soft whistling, or call its name if you know the dog. Do this before getting close to the dog to ensure time and space for an “out.” Never reach out and pet the dog.

d. Stand your ground. Turn and face the dog. Hold something in front of you, like your satchel, and back away slowly to ensure you don’t stumble and fall. Never turn and run!

e. Keep at least one full can of dog repellent spray within reach at all times. If a dog attacks, use the repellent to protect yourself. Before going on your route, make sure your can has not expired.

3. Use these preventative measures:

a. No one likes a surprise. Fill out a Dog Warning Card for your route, so the information can be entered into the system and sent via MDD.

b. Notify your supervisor that there is an unresolved dog hazard that makes you fearful on the route.

Remember: Safety Depends on You!



United States Postal Service Postal News Banner


[Insert Date]


Social Media Icons

Four Tips for Preventing Dog Attacks on Mail Carriers

Promotional Image: National Dog Bite Awareness Week

Can you picture a member of your family attacking a mail carrier? Of course not, but it happened 5,803 times last year across the nation.

Dearborn, MI, Letter Carrier Tameka Toliver recalls being pinned on a porch by a dog that bit her above her knee. “It happened so fast, even with all my training, I barely had time to react,” Toliver told co-workers at an event at the Dearborn Post Office. “I’m still scared when I get close to that house because I remember the attack so vividly. It takes a long time to get over the fear.”

When a dog attacks a letter carrier, the dog owner could be held liable for all medical expenses, repayment of lost work hours, replacement of the uniform and other costs, which can run into thousands of dollars. The Postal Service makes the safety of its employees a top priority and dedicates a week each year to Dog Bite Awareness.

Here are four simple tips to prevent dog bite injuries year round:

Door Delivery: 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 push through screen doors or plate-glass windows to attack visitors. Dog owners must keep the family pet secured. Never take mail directly from carriers in the presence of the family pet, as the dog may see this as a threatening gesture.

Electronic Fencing: Carriers may assume, if they see no physical fence around a property, that the property is animal-free. This can be a dangerous mistake. Postal Service officials request that you keep your dog restrained or inside when the mail is delivered. Although the electronic fence may keep your dog from wandering, it does not protect your carrier, who must enter your property to deliver the mail. Even homes with curbside mailboxes may have oversized packages or signature-needed items that require the carrier to approach a doorstep and cross the boundaries of the electronic fence. This poses a serious risk to carrier safety.

Dog in the Yard: Make sure your dog is properly restrained on a leash and away from where your mail carrier delivers the mail. If the carrier deems a residence unsafe because of an unrestrained dog, mail delivery service can be interrupted. When service is interrupted at an address or in a neighborhood, all parties involved will have to pick up mail at their local Post Office. Service will be restored once assurance has been given that the animal will be confined during regular delivery hours.

Tracking: Dog owners who have access to postal notification features, such as Informed Delivery ( for letter mail and package tracking, are urged to use these features to determine when the carrier is on their way and to ensure their dog has been properly restrained. Expecting a postal package delivery on Sunday? Postal officials urge dog owners to restrain their animals on Sundays as well, as more residences now receive deliveries throughout the weekend.

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United States Postal Service Postal News Banner

Letter to the Editor

Publication Name
Street Address
City, State and ZIP Code

Dear Editor,

Did anyone bite you at work today?

On average, nearly 15 mail carriers per day will say, “Yes.”

Postal Service officials report that in 2019, 5,803 letter carriers experienced dog bites or dog attacks. With deliveries every day, including Sundays and holidays, carriers continue to experience dog bites in urban, suburban and rural settings.

Dog attacks and bites are 100 percent preventable when dog owners remain vigilant and properly restrain their dogs.

To ensure mail carriers’ safety, dog owners must securely lock their dog in another room until a delivery exchange is done. If outside, dogs must be leashed away from the mailbox.

When a carrier feels unsafe, mail service could be interrupted, not only for the dog owner, but for the entire neighborhood. When mail service is interrupted, mail must be picked up at the Post Office. Service will not be restored until the dog is properly restrained.

With your help, we can keep our carriers, your neighbors and your dogs safe. Thank you for protecting your pet and our mail carriers as we continue to bring packages and correspondence to your door each day.



Safety Ambassador/Union Steward

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General Letters to Customers (English and Spanish)

Expressing Concern (English)

Dear Postal Customer:

Your letter carrier takes pride in delivering your mail promptly and efficiently. That means being able to approach your mailbox without interference from your pet.

Although your dog may not be known to bite or otherwise be dangerous to people, your carrier has expressed concern about its behavior. I believe you will agree this concern is understandable, since thousands of letter carriers receive bites or other physical harm from dogs each year. Many of these attacks result in serious injury.

This letter is to inform you that we are concerned your dog may have a tendency to attack, bite, or otherwise injure your letter carrier.

To continue providing uninterrupted mail delivery to you while protecting our letter carriers, the Postal Service requests your assistance. Please confine your dog — either in the house or fenced outdoors on a leash — away from the path your carrier uses to deliver your mail.

We appreciate your cooperation.

Expressing Concern (Spanish)

Apreciado Cliente Postal:

Su cartero se siente muy orgulloso de darle un servicio de entrega diario, con mucha rapidez y eficacia. Eso significa el tener un acceso sin interferencia de su mascota cuando su cartero se dirige hacia su buzón de correspondencia.

A pesar de que se desconoce si su perro(a) halla mordido a alguien o que represente peligro a otras personas, su cartero ha expresado una preocupación debido al comportamiento de su perro(a). Pensamos que usted entenderá esta preocupación ya que cada año miles de carteros han sido mordidos, o físicamente atacados por perros. Muchos de estos ataques han causado heridas serias.

Esta carta es para informale a usted que estamos muy preocupados de que su perro(a) tenga la tendencia de atacar, morder, o herir a su cartero.

Para proveerle a usted un servicio sin interrupción, y a su vez proteger nuestros carteros, el Servicio Postal le pide cordialmente su ayuda. Porfavor mantenga su perro asegurado — ya sea en su casa o detrás de la cerca con un collar que le impida la posibiliadad de hacer daño a alguna persona — tambien manténgalo fuera de la ruta que su cartero utiliza para llevar su correspondencia.

Apreciamos mucho su cooperación.

Compliance (English)

Dear Postal Customer:

Thank you for keeping your dog safely away from the letter carrier’s path. Because dog owners like you accept responsibility for their pets, letter carriers and other service people are better able to work in your neighborhood.

May I express appreciation for your continuing cooperation on behalf of both your regular letter carrier, [Name], and the substitute carriers who deliver your mail in [Name’s] absence.


Compliance (Spanish)

Apreciado Cliente Postal:

Muchas gracias por mantener su perro(a) asegurado y fuera de la ruta de entrega de su cartero. Debido a que hay dueños de perros como usted quienes aceptan la responsabilidad de sus mascotas, su cartero y otros servidores públicos pueden trabajar mas ameno en su vecindario o comunidad.

Queremos agradecerle su continua cooperación de parte de su cartero, [Nombre], y de otros carteros quienes hacen entrega de su cartas cuanto [Nombre’s] esta ausente.


Public Service Announcements

1. Radio Public Service Announcement (PSA) script – recorded copy
124 words plus name/title
Time: 1 minute
Agency: USPS
Title: Dog Bite Safety, Leadership V/O

What do dogs love? The great outdoors. But when your mail carrier arrives, make sure your dog is properly restrained or…better yet…moved inside. Last year, 5,803 letter carriers suffered a dog bite or attack. Our priority at the United States Postal Service is providing first-class service and keeping our carriers safe. But we can’t do it alone.

The letter carriers at your local Post Office deliver every day. And if you are a dog owner, we need you to deliver for us, too. Keep your dog on that leash or away from the door, so your letter carrier can deliver safely to your mailbox, today and every day. This is a public service message from [Name] at the United States Postal Service.

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2. Radio PSA script – recorded copy
126 words
Time: 1 minute
Agency: USPS
Title: Dog Bite Safety, Informed long

[Dog bark sound effect] Are you expecting a package or letter? Do you have a dog? Your postal letter carrier encourages you to help reduce the chance of a dog bite or attack by using the free online service called Informed Delivery from the Postal Service. Go to www (dot) USPS (dot) com and sign up for Informed Delivery notifications. You will be able to see photos of mail due for delivery. You can also track your packages.

The more you know about what mail to expect each day, the better you can plan for keeping your dog restrained during expected delivery hours. And that keeps your letter carrier from getting an unexpected delivery like a bite, from your dog. This message is a public service of this station and your local Post Office.

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3. Radio PSA script -- live copy
72 words
Time: 30 seconds
Agency: USPS
Title: Dog Bite Safety, Informed short

When you expect mail delivery, your mail carrier expects to be safe from dog bites. Sign up for Informed Delivery notifications on USPS (dot) com to see images of your mail and track your packages. Then keep your dog properly restrained when you know a letter carrier is headed to your home. This is a public service message from this station and the Postal Service employees at your local Post Office.

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4. Radio PSA script – recorded copy
42 words
Time: 15 seconds
Agency: USPS
Title: Dog Bite Safety, Priority

Last year, 5,803 letter carriers were bitten or attacked by dogs. Our priority is you and we need your priority to be restraining your dog to keep your letter carrier safe. A public service message from this station and your Post Office.

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5. Radio PSA script – recorded copy
39 words
Time: 15 seconds
Agency: USPS
Title: Dog Bite Safety, In Out

Prevent dog bites by tracking mail using Informed Delivery notifications at USPS (dot) com. When mail is out for delivery, put your dog in(side) the house…safe and secured. This is a public service message of this station and your Post Office.

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Social MediaSocial Media Icons


Tweets for Postmasters, Safety Managers/Safety Ambassadors, and Strategic Communications:

1. #HappeningNow: National Dog Bite Awareness Week, June 14–20: A few tips from @USPS:

2. Does your #dog love the outdoors? That’s fine by us here at the Postal Service, just make sure your dog is properly restrained away from the #USPS mail carrier. #NoBites.

3. How many dogs bite carriers each year? Click this link to find out! [Post link to an awareness article] #BeAware, #uspssafety, #CarrierSafety.

4. Tracking packages on will give a timeframe on #USPS letter carrier arrival time. When mail is out for delivery, be sure your dog is in(side) the house! #Safety, #NoBites.

5. When you see your mail carrier every day, make sure your dog is put away! #NationalDogBiteAwarenessWeek, #USPS, #CarrierSafety.

6. Attention All Pet Owners!! It‘s National Dog Bite Awareness Week. How many #LetterCarriers have been attacked by #dogs in your area? To find out, please visit the 2019 Dog Attack Rankings section.

Postmaster Outreach Speech to Students

Dog Attack Prevention Speech for School Children — grades K-2

[Make the presentation light and fun. Even though this is a serious subject, children will respond to a friendly and approachable adult.]

Good morning boys and girls.
My name is
[Name] and I’m your postmaster. [Tell the children what a postmaster is/does.]

I am here today because I have a message from Postal Pup! [Open a letter in an envelope with this message.]

Postal Pup needs your help!

I am going to read you a message from Postal Pup:

Hello Kids! Postal Pup here!
Your mail carrier loves delivering your mail but sometimes your dogs don’t love the mail carrier. Some mail carriers have to go to the hospital because of dogs in the neighborhood and that’s no fun, right? As dogs, we love our human families, but when we see the mail carrier, we can get overprotective.

If you are in your yard and the mail carrier wants to hand you a letter, what does that look like to you? [Reach to a child and hand them a “letter”— wait for excited response.]

I know it seems fun, but your dog doesn’t know if you are having fun. If your dog doesn’t know you’re having fun, he might bite the mail carrier. Ouch! You must let your mail carrier place the mail in your mail- box.

Our job as dogs is to protect each and every one of you, the ones we love. Sometimes when we are overprotective, we bite the mail carrier to protect you. Some days, we are tired, cranky, or hungry and we get into a bad mood — just like our human families.

A lot of mail carriers are being bitten by dogs each year, and I need your help to make sure your mail- carrier is safe. The best way to keep your mail carrier safe is to make sure your dog is away from the door when the mail carrier comes to deliver the mail.

If you go outside, make sure your dog doesn’t get out. Always close the door behind you when you leave the house. If you are outside with your dog, make sure your dog is away from the mail carrier and on a leash so the mail carrier cannot get hurt. Always be kind to your dog and all dogs.

Here are some safety tips you can take home, and please go over what we spoke about today with your family. Last but not least, as a way to remember this safety talk — sing it with me:
When you see your mail carrier every day, make sure your dog is put away.

Thank you for letting me speak to you today. Have a great and safe rest of the year!

Coloring Page for Students

Postmasters can use the coloring page as a fun, informative way to raise awareness about dog bite safety. Children can bring their artwork home to their parents for discussion. Also, postmasters can collect artwork to display in the lobby or on the workroom floor for carrier encouragement.

Coloring Page Image: Always Walk your Dog with a Leash.


Curtailed Mail: The non-delivery of mail to a customer in cases where the premises are hazardous (e.g., an unrestrained dog).

City Carrier: An employee who cases, delivers, and collects all mail classes along a city route by walking or driving to residences and businesses within an area authorized for city delivery service.

City Carrier Assistant (CCA): A non-career employee who alternates for regular City Carriers.

Customer Service Supervisor: Supervisor who oversees the sorting and delivery of incoming and outgoing mail and parcels at local Post Offices.

Dog Owner’s Responsibility: It is the dog owner’s responsibility to control the dog. Most communities have ordinances for the control of dogs.

Dog Warning Card: Card that alerts your CCA/RCA or Carrier Substitute that a dog is at the address.

Dog Repellent: Dog repellent is to be used on any dog that attacks. The repellent consists of 0.35 percent oleoresin capsicum (extract of cayenne pepper) and 99.65 percent mineral oil, propelled by an inert gas contained in an aerosol spray can.

Employee Health and Safety: An online application for reporting accidents and injuries and managing claims for postal employees.

Job Safety Analysis: A procedure that reviews a specific task to uncover hazards or accident-producing situations.

Mailbag: See Satchel.

Mobile Delivery Devices (MDDs): A device letter carriers use to scan packages to confirm delivery. MDDs include a feature that allows carriers to indicate the presence of a dog at an individual address. This is especially helpful to substitutes who fill in for letter carriers on their days off.

Non-delivery of Mail Policy: Collection and delivery service personnel are to report the name and address of the customer where such interference occurs to the postmaster or authorized supervisor, who must immediately telephone the customer (if possible) and request that the animal be confined during the usual delivery hours in the neighborhood. The postmaster or authorized supervisor must further inform the customer that:

n No deliveries will be made until this is done, and

n Service will be restored upon assurance that the animal will be confined.

Officer in Charge (OIC): A career employee appointed temporarily to fill a postmaster vacancy during which the accountability of postmaster is transferred to that employee.

Package Pickup: Available on, customers can let the organization know if a dog is present at the customer’s address. USPS® will send the information to letter carriers’ MDDs.

Parcel: Mail that does not meet the mail processing category of letter-size mail or flat-size mail. It is usually a package or an item enclosed in a mailing container such as a carton.

Postmaster: The manager in charge of a Post Office™.

Postmaster General: The chief executive officer of USPS, who is named by and serves at the pleasure of the Board of Governors. As a member of the Board, this officer appoints the Deputy Postmaster General jointly with the Board.

Rehabilitation Assignment: An assignment into which the Postal Service places an injured employee when the employee’s doctor notifies the Postal Service that the employee still has medical restrictions that prohibit the employee from returning to his or her job.

Rural Carrier: An employee assigned to case, deliver, and collect mail using a vehicle along a rural route and to provide most services available at a small Post Office.

Rural Carrier Associate (RCA): A non-career bargaining unit employee assigned as a leave replacement on rural routes during the absence of the regular rural carriers.

Satchel: A general term the pouch carriers use to carry mail. Sometimes used informally to describe a carrier’s mailbag. As of 2002, many carriers prefer the traditional single satchel, which offers better protection from charging dogs.

Warning Letter: Letter to alert dog owner(s) to the possible loss of mail delivery if they do not restrain their pets.

Area Corporate Communications Managers List

For media or public relations questions, contact the Corporate Communications manager for your area using the following list:

Capital Metro

Tom Ouellette


Paul Smith

Great Lakes

Timothy Ratliff


Maureen Marion


Eva Jackson (A)


Polly Gibbs


David Rupert

2019 Dog Attack Rankings by City

For the 2019 Dog Attack Rankings in your specific city or town (50 cities make up the top 25 rankings), please contact your local Corporate Communications representative.



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New Orleans


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Government Relations Representatives List

Government Relations representatives are here to help contact and invite elected officials for events. They can be reached at 202-268-XXXX. You can find their extensions (XXXX) using the following link: