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Postal Service Renews Appeal for Owners to Restrain Their Dogs

After two U.S. Postal Service letter carriers in West Virginia were seriously injured in dog attacks recently, the postal service has renewed its appeal for homeowners to keep their dogs out of the path of carriers. If your dog is in the yard, be sure it can’t get anywhere near a postal carrier, the area postmaster reiterated on behalf of postal workers nationwide. Also, if you’re in the habit of greeting the mail carrier at the door, please put your dog in another room before you do.

Both of the mail carriers were attacked by dogs in just the last couple of weeks, and both had to be treated at the hospital. One required a tetanus shot, although luckily no rabies testing was needed. Postal carriers are at special risk of being attacked by dogs because their jobs bring them straight to many dogs’ homes -- and dogs can be territorial.

For that reason, but also to help prevent injuries to others, the USPS runs an annual campaign in May called Dog Bite Prevention Week. According to the agency, nearly 5,900 mail carriers were bitten or attacked by dogs last year alone. The service also listed three California cities among the 15 where the most postal carriers were bitten by dogs in 2012 -- San Francisco, Sacramento and Los Angeles which, unfortunately, was No. 1 on the list.

At the same time, the USPS points out that their own injury rate pales in comparison to the more than 2 million children who suffered dog bite injuries that same year.

One letter carrier shared his own story with reporters after the two recent attacks. "I was going through the yard and not paying much attention," he said. "The dog jumped on me and got me right in the stomach and I had to leave and go to the hospital for a tetanus shot."

If your letter carrier suspects your dog may be a threat, the postmaster warns, you could be asked to pick up your mail at the post office.

"It makes it safer for us. We have to walk through a yard and have to miss a few houses or a street because a dog is chasing us down the street," added the letter carrier.

Source: WCHS-TV, "Dogs Pose Serious Hazard To Letter Carriers," Dave Benton, Nov. 20, 2013

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