National Dog Bite Awareness Week was announced for the United States Postal Service, bringing to attention the scenarios in which postal workers often face.
According to an April 7 police report, Christine Marie Arauco reported that Richard Pentico had been bitten by a dog in the area of the 1700 block of Second Street while delivering the mail. Pentico reported having prior issues with the dog and was bit in the upper left leg.
Prior to their experience in the service, carriers complete training in which they prepare for the instance of a threat by an animal.
According to U.S. Postal Service Communication Program Specialist for the Hawkeye District, Stacy St. John, carriers typically use their mail satchels as a distance creator between the threat.
“Their satchel is their first line of defense,” St. John said. “They also have dog horns and dog spray available if they can’t keep enough separation.”
St. John said the dog horns are very loud and can often startle the animal, scaring them away.
“Upon orientation, our carriers are trained on animal instances on how to protect themselves,” St. John said.
As summer approaches, St. John said dogs might be let out by children or spend more time outdoors, which could create a potential risk to carriers.
In order to ensure safety for both the animal and carrier, St. John believes the following methods can help both occupants.
“They can indicate that they have a dog or put the dog in another room,” St. John said. “Those are good tips that we would like customers to know and practice so we could ensure the safety of our carriers.”
St. John did not have information regarding the dog attack mentioned in the police report.
The following preventative measures were provided from the U.S. Postal Service:
“If a letter 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. Dogs have been known to 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 letter carriers in the presence of the family pet, as the dog may view the letter carrier 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 letter 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 letter carrier is assured the pet has been restrained. If the 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.”