This past year, 5,767 postal workers were attacked by dogs. The USPS has posted guidelines for pet owners to help protect letter carriers. While these are helpful, what are letter carriers supposed to do if they are being approached by a dog that seems to be aggressive?
While dog bites are rarely fatal in the United States, they occasionally are. At the very least, they cause many postal workers to be forced to take time off due to injury. To help, we’ve provided some safety tips, including what to do if you are bitten.
Never approach a dog you do not know. It is not advised you even approach a neighbor’s dog you do know while on your route, especially if they are not on any type of leash.
If it seems that a dog is going to approach, stay still and do not make eye contact. A dog may give chase if you attempt to run. Do not appear aggressive.
If you notice a dog roaming freely on someone’s property, you have the right to not deliver mail to that address due to safety. Do not risk injury if you don’t have to.
If a dog attacks, put as much distance between you and the dog as possible. Protect your head and neck if possible.
Consider investing in dog repellent. It is accurate up to 10’ and each can contains about 10 bursts. It is registered with the EPA. We also sell a holster for this item so you can always have it at your fingertips.
If you have been bitten:
Perform basic first aid as soon as possible. Wash the area of the bite with warm water and soap. Apply some sort of bandage or wrap. It’s a good idea to keep a first aid kit in your vehicle.
Call your doctor, and if the bite is serious, get to a hospital.
Be sure to report the attack, giving as much information as possible.